Author: Shanth Sam D’cruz
Page Count: 407
A boy, weighed down by his past, torn between love and righteousness, seeks redemption, from his past, from events that spiralled out of his control. ‘Images’ tells the story of ‘Jonah Daniel’, through his own eyes. Though he is a normal teenager, he is one with a ‘not so normal’ past. The novel begins with a cherished memory of Jonah, a football match he played at school, which turns out to be the last memory he ever had with his Mom, Helen. The loner that he already was, the loss of his Mom, pushes Jonah further into deep corners of introversion. Feeling that, a change in surroundings would help him, he joins another school, and this is where the next part of the tale begins. He meets some very special characters. Badrinath, the intimidating but sympathetic badass, who becomes Jonah’s friend. Vaiga Ranganathan, the girl about whom Jonah once wonders, the number of traits she has in common with Helen. Kritika, the senior girl, who always turns Jonah on. Jannat, a 3-year-old beauty, whom Jonah later calls, ‘the light of my life’. Though Jonah never realises it, whatever had happened in his past, has always been a part of him. The way he thinks, the manner he feels, the demeanour with which he treats people, the kind of folks he is attracted to. The past has been leading and guiding Jonah for a long time, even without him knowing about it. The eventuality of an incident which Jonah could not prevent, finally brings his past onstage, which had been controlling him from behind the curtains for ever. How he deals with his past? The answer to this question, forms the crux of the story.
You can buy the book from Amazon.
Whenever a story promises a journey about the main protagonist going through a series of events that changes his/her perspective towards life whilst they are coping with the aftermath of any kind of trauma that happened in their past intrigues me. Simply because I feel it makes the story realistic and the character relatable. After all, we have all been through a phase that changes our outlook on life, for better or worse. And of course we all carry a baggage on our shoulders as we grow through life.
After reading the blurb, I was excited as it looked promising but alas my excitement didn’t last long.
Jonah or simply “Jo”, our main protagonist comes of as an obnoxious teen right from the start which isn’t much problem as nobody is perfect but his internal monologue and thoughts about others instantly made me dislike him which is a first sign of a not well planned book. I understand that he’s an introvert and has insecurities but his refusal to acknowledge compassion and loathsome attitude towards people who have been nothing but nice to him, without having any reason to be, makes him come off as a whiny brat who is just looking for someone to put the blame on. It does make him realistic though because we’ve all been ungrateful complaining teens.
My main problem with the book is not the character but the narration, Instead of explaining Jo’s inner turmoil in a deeper way, it’s written in a way that seems more like a speech than storytelling. The use of emoticon codes like “:)” doesn’t help either.
The way the book is written makes it difficult to connect to the characters and be sympathetic towards them or feel good for them even when they go through progressive development.
The plot isn’t something extraordinary and whenever that happens, readers have high expectations from the author to compensate for that through their writing style but since the negative point of this book is actually the same thing that could’ve been its saving grace, it makes it even harder to see past the flaws.
I do appreciate that the author tried his best to show what loss, grief and abandonment can do to a person. I also did like some parts where the importance of friendship was showcased. I just think I’d have liked it even more if it was written in a much better way.
Nonetheless if you’re a beginner and want to read something that you can relate to, I’ll recommend this.
Appreciate the idea, didn’t like the execution.
1) Realistic characters