Monday, 2 July 2018

Book Review: Indira by Devapriya Roy and Priya Kuriyan.

Book: Indira

Author: Devapriya Roy

Illustrator: Priya Kuriyan

Publisher:  Context, Westland Books 

Pages: 144

Read On: Paperback Edition

How Long it Took Me To Read : 2 days ( I read slowly to savour it!)

Plot Summary: In a government school classroom in Delhi, young Indira Thapa is set an unusual assignment by her favourite teacher: to write an essay around her name. Who was Indira Priyadarshini, the person after whom her grandfather named her? And why her? What is her legacy as India’s first—and only—woman prime minister? 

Over the course of a long, hot summer and a curious friendship with an artist who is working on a biography of Mrs Gandhi, young Indira gets tangled up in the life and times of her memorable namesake. Sometimes by design and sometimes by accident, story after story comes alive—about a childhood spent in Allahabad growing the Vanar Sena, of a youthful romance with the charming Feroze Gandhi, of stints in jail and elephant rides through pouring rain, of a magnificent audacity that catapulted India onto the international stage, and of the final, tragic end that ripped apart the fabric of the nation. 
Real and imagined worlds, the past and present, text and image all entwine as Indira walks us through the most formative decades of political life of India.

General Thoughts: This book was on my radar since it first came out and I waited a few months before getting and I started reading it pretty much immediately. I knew I'd love it and I was not wrong! I am also so chuffed that I got this book on a pretty good deal. Yay!

Things I Liked: 

1. Indira Gandhi is a controversial figure in Indian history and politics. Some people love her while others hate her with an unmatched passion. For me and my family, she has always been a figure to look up to and admire. Our first (and only) woman Prime Minister and a woman who was brave and determined and got things done and didn't back down. Personally, she is someone I look up to. A women to be reckoned with. There is so much to admire about her. So any book about her is something I am bound to pick up.

2. I loved the writing of this book. It's simple and straightforward and perfect for young readers but still works perfectly for older readers.

3. I absolutely loved the art in this book. It was beautiful and so gorgeously detailed. A total treat. Here are some examples...

4. I love the combination of fiction and fact. We see both Indira Gandhi's life story and that of Indira Thapa and honestly I loved both halves of the book. I loved diving into Mrs. Gandhi's world but Indira's world was equally interesting and riveting and full of wonderful people. I really enjoyed spending time with them.

5. The book is a very balanced account of the life and times of Indira Gandhi. Even the not-so-stellar moments of her rule are not shied away from. We read about Operation Blue Star and Sikh riots following her assassination and even murky politics of Sanjay Gandhi. I really, really appreciated this unfiltered approach to her biography.

6. I think the ending of this book and the way in which it dealt with death of Indira Gandhi was really wonderful. Especially given that this is a book aimed at younger readers, it was nice to handle it in the way they did.

7. I also really loved that this book talked about depression is such a honest and open way. To show that depression can happen to anyone and it's OK and it can be managed and having depression doesn't make you into something else altogether. It is so important to talk to young people about mental illness and I love how this book managed to do this seamlessly.

Rating: 5/5

I absolutely loved this book and I highly, highly recommend it.  Read it now!

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