Hola people, I am back with yet another book review. The book in question today is Just Me, The Sink and The Pot by Sudesna Ghosh. This book is a memoir of sorts, written from the point of view of a teenage girl who is overweight. Set in Kolkata, the book depicts the school life as remembered by the protagonist.
What I liked
The writing quality is very good. Unlike a lot of self published debut novels I have read, this one does not have typing or grammatical errors. From a readers perspective, it does not matter if a book is self published or has a big team behind it, they expect certain standards which this book upholds. Another thing about it is the simplicity. The language, the flow, the characters are very easy to understand. There is absolutely no complexity. The book does a very good job of delving into the psyche of an overweight teenage girl. The impact of every thing that is said to her, everything she experiences and how she interprets it, is very well depicted.
What I did not like
My biggest dislike in the novel is the tone of the narrative. The overweight protagonist links everything with being fat. She blames everything from her genes to her parents to her sister and friends for the reason for her misery. She constantly says she wants to be thin, wants to have fun like her peers but makes no effort towards it. The thing is there are plenty of instances in the book where this fact is pointed out. The character appears as whiny and failed to create any sympathy or empathy. As an overweight tween and adult, I am well aware of the monumental tasks of finding clothes and having crushes not knowing you exist. Yet, I found the narrative very uni-dimensional. The subject of the book has tremendous potential. There are a lot of characters (her sister and mother for example), who are just not explained in the book. As a reader, it did not feel complete. Also a lot of situations like Valentines Day celebrations in school do not work in an Indian setting. My teachers would have a fit if they discovered valentine’s cards on a student’s person, let alone encouraging them to give one to their peers. I was wondering if the times have changed and I am now ancient!
To conclude, I would say this is not a book for an actual overweight teen unless they want to wallow in misery. To me, it seems that the purpose of the book was to raise awareness about body shaming and it does that quite well. It does not tell you however how to deal with someone who is a victim of body shaming or trapped in their own cage of low esteem. Also, this is not a book to be read lightly. It does force you to think about the importance we give to physical beauty and not to all round development of our girls (pun unintended!)