My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

‘It’s not God. Just my parents,’ I say. ‘I want to sue them for the rights to my own body.

My Sister’s Keeper is one of the most heart wrenching and tear jerking novels Jodi Picoult has ever written. Jodi Picoult is an American writer and was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for fiction in 2003.

My Sister’s Keeper is a story, revolving around the lives of five people and how some decisions can both tear apart as well as stitch together families.

Anna, the protagonist of the story decides to sue her family for rights to her own body. Her sister Kate had been diagnosed with a rare cancer form, for which donors were hard to find, hence Anna had been used as a donor all through her life to save her sister’s life. However after a point Anna decided otherwise.

This beautiful tragedy is portrayed through the eyes of all the five main characters of the story.

Whether it is the feelings of a father who has to choose between his wife and daughter, or it’s the mother who has to ask one of her daughters to sacrifice herself for her other daughter. Every emotion in this story captures the reader’s heart.

It is recommended that one has a strong mind to be able to read this roller-coaster of emotions that Picoult has created as one of her best works. This book is not your average fairy tale, with real life situations, real life pain, and real life strength that one needs to make certain decisions in life.

Having an elder sister myself, I was anti the concept of this story when I first started reading it, as I can both die and kill for my sister. However, as I continued reading and getting closer to the characters, I realised sometimes there is a lot more to decisions regarding people we love, then what initially meets the eye.

Picoult with her talent of perfectly portraying human emotions and her notorious habit of plot twists manages to keep the reader hooked on till the very end, making them fall in love with both the book and life in general!

 

Mrs Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna

Twinkle Khanna is a former Bollywood film actress, who debuted her first non-fiction novel, Mrs Funnybones, in the year 2015. Mrs Funnybones sold over one lakh copies making Twinkle Khanna India’s highest-selling female writer of 2015.[

We have read about life from the eyes of famous politicians. We have seen the world from the side of religious fanatics. We have felt, and laughed at the miseries of engineering students and we have experienced the journeys of men who conquered the world with their talent.

It was therefore a welcome change to read about an ordinary person like myself, who makes mistakes, pays for them, is NOT perfect and likes it that way.

Mrs Funnybones is a refreshing debut novel by the ever-witty Twinkle Khanna, where she explores the life of the modern, Indian woman.

Whether it is the ancient, religious or superstitious customs we need to follow for keeping the hearts of our old parents or keeping a step ahead and being ever ready to answer our over-smart children, Khanna deals with all everyday problems of life.

With her ever present humour she manages to capture life in its comic sense. She discusses the everyday problems we all face and shares her insight on some serious issues as well.

Through her original writing style, Khanna manages to keep the reader hooked on to this novel.

Being the typical Indian myself, I particularly enjoyed reading about those annoyingly talkative strangers we are forced to share parts of our days with and those stuck up aunties who are forever trying to act fancy. Call me evil! But just knowing the fact that even celebrities out there cannot be spared of these everyday horrors, makes me feel better about myself (evil grin).

At the same time though, the recollection of college Goa trips, talkative rickshaw drivers and the silliest arguments with moms, takes me down the pleasant memory lane as well.

More than anything else however, the very basic level at which I could relate to this book as a girl, a student, a fellow writer and an Indian is what made me like this book.

So everyone out there who is looking for a simple and uncomplicated fresh book to read, Mrs Funnybones is the best choice.

The Night of – A TV Show More Than Just a Simple Crime Drama!

The Night Of is an American Crime television show that was premiered in 2016. It is a miniseries based on Criminal Justice, a 2008–09 British television series. The plot of The Night of revolves around a college student Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed) and a crime that he may or may not have committed.

One night Nasir’s invited to a party and takes his father’s cab without permission. However, when Andrea Cornish (Sofia Black-D’Elia) gets into his cab, he has trouble telling her to leave the taxi. Soon, they both end up at Andrea’s place where they consume illegal drugs and get intimate. The next scene shows Nasir waking up in the kitchen and going upstairs to get his things, which is when he discovers that Andrea is dead. In blind panic, he runs out of the house only to realize that he left his keys inside. He breaks in to her house, grabs his jacket which has his keys, a vial and a blood covered knife. A neighbor sees him breaking into Andrea’s house and run out a minute later and calls the police.

Nasir is pulled over a couple of blocks away for taking an illegal left turn. Once at the police station, the knife is retrieved from his jacket and he is taken into custody.

The entire season which has 8 episodes revolves around this case where Nasir pleads his innocence over and over again. Nasir is put into Rickons Prison awaiting his prosecution, where he is attacked twice, after which he makes connections with Freddy (Michael K. Williams) an influential prisoner.

Towards the end of the season, changes in Nasir’s personality are evident, from looking like an innocent college student; he turns into looking like a true stereotypical colored convict. It shows how wrongly convicting someone of a crime can sometimes turn innocent citizens into criminals.

The show also shows the negative/racist reaction of people towards the Muslim community after Nasir’s arrest, it portrays their status in the citizen hierarchy and the injustices they face regardless of their status of citizenship.

This show kept me on the edge at times, while left me completely uninterested at times as well. The suspense building up throughout the season led me to a great deal of disappointment at the end. Whether or not the ending was to my liking, it was realistic and relatable.

You’d have to watch to know who killed Andrea and whether or not justice was served.

I’d give this show a 3/5 rating.

Sad Girls by Lang Leav

For all those who are not familiar with Lang Leav, let me tell you that she is an internationally bestselling author. Lang Leav has also won the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award along with Churchill Fellowship. I was really intrigued by this book, Sad Girls, the first time I heard about it. Everything about this book builds up so much curiosity that it was uncontainable. The cover has a minimalist sketch of a presumably sad girl while the back only says “A girl who cried wolf; a boy in sheep’s clothing; a killer romance; a deadly secret.”

I just couldn’t bear not knowing what happens in this book, and if I could go back in time, I would probably put off reading it for as long as possible. I found it hard to finish reading this book because of how triggering it is at certain points. For me, personally, this book proved out to be quite unhealthy mostly because it had so many realistic triggers starting with a suicide. Yes, the story revolves around the aftermath of a suicide. There’s an evident guilt there, there’s confusion and there are tears, shed both by the characters and the readers. Someone once told me that grief is the strongest emotion one can feel, and this book makes me believe that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the book, the ending however ruined a perfectly good story.

The story revolves around Audrey, her two best friends, Lucy and Candela, the suicide of Ana and Rad, Ana’s boyfriend.

This story has so many ups and downs, it has hope, it has devastation and it has realistic scenarios. Reading this book was honestly one emotional roller coaster, reading about the pain of losing someone to suicide in a very relatable and realistic way was the highlight of this book, at least for me. It shows the importance for seeking help when it comes to mental health in a positive way, but the portrayal of how a therapist is, according to me was quite unrealistic and deceiving.

After Ana’s funeral, Audrey starts spending a lot of time together with Rad, which causes problems in her relationship as well as with her mother.  Sooner than later, the two put an end to their friendship but they keep finding each other in life.

It is a beautiful story which deals with real issues. The ending however, was unpredictable and strange, it made me cringe and it made me feel like an idiot. I give this book 3/5.

Is It Worth Watching Grey’s Anatomy? (A TV Series Review)

Grey’s Anatomy has been one of the few shows I watch religiously, the first season broadcasted in 2005 but I only found out about it by 2012. So by the time I started watching it, 6-7 seasons had already been broadcasted. At first I didn’t understand what all the hype was about, I mean it is just a show about doctors, or so I thought.  But then, when I started following it, I realized that Grey’s Anatomy is so much more than just a show about doctors.

The show revolves around Dr. Meredith Grey and her friends, their story – from starting out as interns to becoming doctors.  It’s true that you don’t exactly need to watch the previous episodes to be able to enjoy the one you’re watching but unless you do, it’ll probably be hard to understand the story line.  One of the many great things about this show is that even though one of the main characters is Dr. Grey, the producers never let other characters seem less important.

Over these thirteen seasons, Shonda Rhimes, the creator of this show has won many hearts as well as broken them. The surprises and the shocks in this show have honestly, often left me numb- among other things. You never know while watching an episode if by the end you’ll be happy, bitter or sad. It is so unpredictable yet so consistent. It is exhausting.

The chemistry between characters, as the show proceeds sometimes gets a little confusing. There’s so much happening everywhere, whether it’s the friendship Christina and Meredith share, or the one Dr. Webber and Dr. Bailey share, it is annoying how well the pairings are.

Grays Anatomy will make you shed tears, feel joy, it will make your heart skip a beat, it will most definitely make you want to stop watching it, but most of all, it will make you see the brighter side of things.

Meredith Grey from the starting of the show has been dealt a bad hand, but how she gets through whatever is thrown her way is admirable. At one point, I wanted to yell at the creators and the producers to tell them to give the girl a break because that’s how emotionally investing the grasp of this show is. It will ruin your life, in a good way, of course.

I’ve always been a fan of drama, and the dramatics of this show are amazing. I give this show a 5/5.

Death Note – Anime Review

Have you ever wondered what would you do if you could play God? Well, Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata did. And so, they wrote this concept in the form of a manic yet intriguing manga (Japanese comic), Death Note. It finally became an Anime on October 3, 2006. It had a total of 37 episodes and was a big hit with its fans. Being a big fan of this anime, I feel like it is mandatory on my part to introduce this anime to more people.

The story starts with the protagonist, Light Yagami, discovering a black-coloured notebook named “Death Note”. He flips through the pages to find it empty except for a few instructions on the first few pages.  The instructions state how he can kill anybody he wants by writing their names on the blank sheets in the book. Light Yagami is not your average boy. He is a brilliant, genius person with very little time for emotions. He decides to use the book (after finding out how effectively it works) to kill all the evil people in the world so he can make it a better place.

The Death Note is the property of a Shinigami (Death spirit). Ryuk (the Shinigami) is thoroughly bored so he drops it to get some entertainment. The whole anime becomes nail-biting and addictive when a detective “L” steps in and tries his hand at solving the case of the sudden deaths. Why is this anime so beautiful yet chilling?

Well firstly the clash between Light and L is the one thing that keeps you hooked onto this anime. They both are equally talented and intelligent. How does L find out Light’s truth is another thing to watch out for. Secondly, this anime unintentionally forces you to think and introspect. Is Light better cause he only wants to remove evil and make the world a better place? Or is L nobler for wanting to stop the unnecessary killings of criminals? The best reason why you should watch it is the whole story itself. You can sit back and think, “I know what will happen next”. But the truth is you won’t. This anime is realistic and changes it plot so much it could give Game of Thrones a run for its money. This anime has one of the best soundtracks out there. The instrumental themes for each character is mind-blowing and truly shows the creative genius of Japanese musicians.  Each character is well-written but some parts of it do have flaws. But these minor things can be overlooked as this anime was written eleven years ago.

Netflix has announced a film on Death Note but I am clearly unhappy with the trailer. I would still stick to the anime version. For an anime that was made so long ago, Death Note is a philosophical journey you must embark on!

 

My Take on the TV Series – Suits

Aaron Korsh is the creator and writer behind this captivating American legal drama TV series- Suits . The lead characters are Patrick J Adams as Mike Ross and Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter.  The story revolves around how Mike joined an eminent law firm without a graduate degree and how Harvey and Mike are trying to keep their secret safe amidst all the chaos in their personal and professional lives. With good looking characters and a good backdrop the series creates an interest for the viewers

If someone asks me why you like Suits the first thing I would say is because of Harvey Specter. There is something about that character that holds you and makes you want more of him. If intelligence is something you look for in a character then Harvey is full of it. His sassy remarks and outspoken attitude might have gained enemies in the show but it’s a great entertainment for the viewers. Harvey also has this emotional and humane side to him which I find very appealing. Harvey was the only one who first discovered Mike’s talent and gave him the job in spite of him being a college dropout. The character of Mike, in the show, is a hope to all college dropouts who have talent but are not given an opportunity. Hence, the show in its own way gives light to the issue of whether knowledge and experience matters more than talent and intelligence or vice versa?

I feel that the story line of Suits is a little bit dragged and lacks uniqueness but the characters steal the show. I watch the show not to see how the story progresses but to see how the characters are developing and their interactions with one another. Even side characters like Donna has some clever remarks up her sleeves and can entertain anyone even if her appearance in an episode is short.

I would give this show a 3.5/5 as although the characters are well portrayed and dialogues are really catchy and witty but the story line lacks uniqueness. And somewhere, the plot loses its identity and only the characters are the main reason one would watch the show till the end.

Wide Sargasso Sea (Movie review)

Click to buy this novel now – Wide Sargasso Sea (Norton Critical Editions)

It is a movie based on Jean Rhys’ novel of the same name and is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It is a story told from the view point of Antoinette Cosway, who is known as Bertha Mason, a white Jamaican-Creole, in Jane Eyre (although, I didn’t talk about Bertha in my review of the novel, as she has already been referred to as a mad woman, therefore I didn’t want to insult her more by mentioning how she’s been addressed in the novel).

I was already sympathizing with Bertha when I read Jane Eyre, but after watching Wide Sargasso Sea, I became assured of my feeling of hatred for Rochester and sympathy for that locked woman in the attic, who’s been incarcerated on the third floor of Thornfield with a tag if being “lunatic”.

This madwoman who’s been shown in the bad light in the novel, became the main protagonist for Jean Rhys’ novel. In an interview, Rhys said that the moment she read Bronte’s novel, she found herself sympathizing with Bertha, who’s been declared as a mad wife of Rochester and decided to make her heroine of her novel, to show her side of story!

The question that remains unanswered in Jane Eyre is that whether Bertha was really mad or whether Rochester made a falsified representation of her being mad or whether Rochester’s rakish and infidel acts made her mentally upset? Thus Rhys’ novel answers such questions and justifies Bertha’s stand, that she wasn’t mad organically, but rather was the victim of orientalism and an infidellusty husband, who married her only for the sake of money!

Thus, if you wanna join my league of hating Rochester, then please do watch out this movie to see how women were the victims of double oppression, first due to being an orient and second due to being a ” woman”the other of male!

Here’s the link –