And finally a book review

So I realise that it has been aeons since this blog saw a book post. This belies the fact that I have been voraciously reading in the last few months.
On this very blog I had expressed my disdain for the Kindle and rued the fact that the generation to come might cease to recognise bound books for what they are. Those reservoirs of fact and fiction that have kept me sane through the worst of times, made me laugh till I cried and cry till I laughed. And most of all I questioned whether reading of the Kindle could really give one the satisfaction of reading. Of smelling the scent of a new book, turning the pages, and, once done, hurriedly check the spine for creases (maybe this is just me!) and then lie back and sigh in contentment. Yes, I questioned.
Well as fate would have it we were gifted the Kindle by kind relatives and I ignored it for the first few months, much like one might ignore the vestigial organ. And while I managed to tell myself that I really could wait for the next trip to an English speaking country or for the annual book fair, it seemed to mock me from its corner, dust-ridden, sitting in its grey shell saying -“one click, one click and it can be yours now!”.
Then for Valentine’s day this year the husband gifted me my annual Amazon gift card.  When we were still Kindle virgins, this gift card was used to buy actual books.
It all began with a harmless ‘sample’ Kindle book. And before I knew it I had read my way through the entire gift amount. One click. In that very fact lies its appeal and my downfall.
I will still say that it is difficult to hold the Kindle because over years of reading I have worked the art of reading comfortably in bed. And now I need to re-learn the process for the Kindle.
So now that that long, but necessary, digression has been duly brought to your attention I will talk about books.
One book in particular that I finished on the train to work this morning. ‘January First’. I guess I was one of the few Oprah watchers that didn’t know about Janni. The 5 year old who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, making her one of the youngest persons to be diagnosed with the incurable disorder.
The book is written by her father. And in writing the book, the man has bared his soul in the most matter-of-fact manner that I have ever read.
It has been years since a book disturbed me. When I read, the book plays out like a movie in my head, which I suspect might be the case for many others. For those hours or days I am in the world of the book and what happens, happens around me, sometimes to me. Especially when I read about pain.
With January first, for the first time, I felt uneasy. So much so that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue reading. After all, it is not everyday that a father can write about his five year old trying to commit suicide.
Yes you read that right.
The book is a harrowing account of the life of the family. And it is cold, hard fact. Which is what makes it chilling. It left me with an inexplicable feeling of distress, sorrow and helplessness.
I cannot pretend to understand the extent of their everyday struggles but I will say this. I have experienced this, albeit on a much lower level. My sister and I were sickly children. Her more than I. And I have seen my parents, in hospital, sitting at her bedside wondering if and when we will go home. Wondering if ever things will be the same. I have seen them become robotic just to get the tasks done and keep their emotions at bay lest they succumb. I have seen them go through the gamut of emotions during and after and it is bloody scary.
I cannot imagine what level of endurance, spirit and mental strength is needed if your child were handed the life sentence. Which is what schizophrenia is.
But the book ends with hope that is always good. The family is still here, still dealing and, like millions of others in this world, taking it one day at a time.


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