Guy on the Sidewalk is a book written by a fellow blogger Bharath Krishna. He reached out to me via IndiBlogger and asked if I would like to read and review the book. I received the book before its release but my travel and then the car incident has been keeping me totally tied up. So, my apologies Bharath for the delay in this review.
Plot of Guy On The Sidewalk
The book is about an Indian boy’s journey through his initial adult years. His education, career choices and most of all about his move to America and the decision to come back to India. We have had our share of novels depicting desi life in America. What is different in this plot is though that the book was about him coming back to India. According to the book blurb
Who am I, where do I belong and what am I meant for in this short life in this big world?
For Jay, life was a series of defensive detours until he gathered the strength to listen to his inner voice with honesty and decided to take life head on with fearlessness. Making the move from India to America was momentous. He sought to make something of himself, however, his yearning to live in his country and among his people never ceased to bother him. Over six years, despite the luxury of opportunities in the United States, he wondered, is this all there is? He left home to create a better life, but he could have never imagined that though his better life might be found in America, his best life might just be at home, in India.
Guy On The Sidewalk – What I Liked
The first thing I liked about the book was that the book is based on the protagonist Jay’s decision to return back to India after spending a few years in America. The return is not a will he- won’t he thing. It is the premise of the story and everything is leading up to it. The second thing is the honesty of the character. Bharath has written this book in first person and you are privy to each thought and feeling Jay goes through. His admiration for America and the inevitable comparison with India that crops up be it the attitude of people, the malls, the free ways or the way women dress and behave. Through Jay’s own thoughts and the way he perceives others’ Bharath highlights the contradictions in people’s psyche when they go from India to America. He talks about freedom that women enjoy, the conflicting values in the heads of the men and also about the yearning to return to India. Another thing I want to mention about is Jay’s relationship with the female lead – Siri. It is one of the most beautiful and yet practical portrayals of a modern relationship. It is not a hearts and flowers romance neither a slam bam thank you ma’m physical relationship. It is a story of friendship blossoming into love – of two imperfect people making each other better.
Guy on the Sidewalk – What I did not like
Personally, I prefer my fiction reads to be packed with action. Something needs to constantly happen for me to keep turning the pages. The pace of this book was very slow and uneven. When Jay first arrives to America, there is a lot of detailed description about his daily routine, about his forming relationships. I had liked this in the initial chapters of the book. As it progresses, the interaction reduces and Jay’s thoughts about the direction his life is taking increases. That seemed a bit imbalanced to me. I wish Bharath had continued the same unhurried pace of Jay’s life. His love for driving is described in just a line or two but his road trips formed a large part of his life there. Would have loved to know more about these.
Guy on the Sidewalk – Final thoughts
To conclude, this book is a rich insight into the lives and struggles of the desis in America. If you know someone who left everything he / she had going for them back there, you will probably identify with it more. Guy on the sidewalk is not a breezy read. I read it over many days, making a little progress at a time. Pick it if you like books that will give you an all rounded view of situations, reactions, thoughts, feelings and a whole lot of opinions.
Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated by the author or the publication for it. I was however sent the complimentary copy to read and review. The link below is the Amazon associates link for this book and if you use it to order the book, I stand to make a small commission.