Friends Behind Walls

cover

Book Details

Genre: Children, Family, Humor, Mystery

Formats: Paperback

Ages: 6 to 9 years

Pages: 137

Publisher: Penguin

Buy From amazon India

Price: Rs 126 on amazon for ebook and for paperback, M. R. P. is Rs 199 as printed on book

I could relate

When I was a little girl, I went to a convent school and many of my friends talked excitedly about their vacations in villages or their native place. My grandparents lived in the big city of Calcutta and as wonderful as it was being pampered by them, I sometimes wished I had a village for a native place too. What was village life like, I couldn’t help but wonder. It sounded so different from city life, and seemed almost magical. So when Putti, the protagonist and a resident of Mumbai, wanted to visit his father’s village, Deolali, instead of going for a fancy vacation to yet another city, I completely empathized with him.

Plot Synopsis

Putti convinces his parents much against their will to spend the summer in his father’s childhood home in Deolali. His parents grudgingly agree, but insist that he must not interact with the neighbor, and they won’t tell him why.

When Putti arrives in Deolali with his parents, he is enamored by the beauty of the place. But then he finds out that the only other kid his age is his next door neighbor, the family his parents have absolutely forbidden him to interact with.

Bored out of his mind without any friends to play with, Putti ignores his parents orders and makes friends with Inu. The two are relieved to have each other to hang out with, but they have no idea why their parents hate each other so much. So they decide to investigate. Their search for an answer leads them to learn a lot about their neighbors, and the legendary Tekdichi Mhatari of Deolali.

But how can two little kids heal an age old feud that has ripped their families apart? How can they mollify adults set in their ways, holding on to pointless grudges? Read on to find out.

Highlights

  • The author uses a funny gimmick to explain difficult words. She breaks up big words in to little pieces by sound. She then tells you the meaning of the word has nothing to do with what the little pieces might have you believe. Next, she supplies the actual meaning. For example while explaining the word brouhaha she says it does not mean to laugh while brewing tea, or coffee and that it actually means an uproar or a lot of noise. This humorous way of introducing new or difficult words is peppered throughout the story. I bet you can’t imagine what she supposes inkling could mean.

  • The author connects well with kids using the classic technique of empathizing with them about the absurdities of grown up ways of thinking and of course, loads of humour.

  • For a story with a rather complicated problem that has remained unsolved for decades, the kids find an astoundingly simple solution, illustrating that there is indeed beauty in simplicity.

  • The author includes a lot of Marathi phrases and words adding a local flavor to the story. I particularly liked a joke, whose punchline was based on a cross-lingual pun between Marathi and English. There is even Marathi children’s rhyme, along with it’s English translation.

  • The author uses superb imagery and some fascinating similies like the summer holidays were long and stretched like chewing gum. There's another one I really liked, describing a the nose in a disapproving expression. You'll have to read the book to dind out what that is.

  • The book has some endearing illustrations. I particularly liked the one of Tekdichi Mhatari.

  • This is a heartwarming and relatable story that prompts you to re-examine any grudges you hold.

Some Observations

The conversations in this story use a lot of colloquialisms, and the style of speaking is a form of Indian English. It may sound awkward, but it’s authentic, although some of the expressions may be a little dated. For example, my daughter did not know what “time please” meant, though of course it made me smile. She calls it "time out".

The writing style is quite casual and conversational.

Frenemies: A journey through generations!

Penguin sent me this book for an honest review. Thanks Penguin.

Here is my review Harshikaa's previous book, Kittu's Very Mad Day.

Thanks PlusMinus’N’More, for everything I learned from you about reviewing books.

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