Book Review #18: Beyond School

Name: Beyond School
Author: Chitra Anand
No. of Pages: 201
Genre: Reality Fiction
Publisher: Frog Books (An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)
Price: Rs. 125/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says:
Beyond School centres upon the weeks leading up to 17-year-old Shail s final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure-cooker and the weight of preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in the other direction. Along with Shail’s journey from boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his parents-Urmila and Sushil and his mentor-Gladys, in a story that is honest, funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.
About the author:
Chitra Anand was born in Mumbai. She is a postgraduate in Physics and holds an Education degree. Beyond School is her first novel inspired by her journey as an educator.
Cover: The cover illustrates the simple elements of school, a blackboard with a duster, books, pens and a football.
Writing: The writing is lucid yet engaging.
The protagonist of the novel is Shail who dreams of becoming a world famous footballer and decides not to sit for his twelfth grade board exams. Then there are his supportive parents who have their own reasons of raising their the way they do. Finally there is Gladys, the school’s student counselor who is entrusted with the job of convincing Shail to sit for his upcoming board exams.
The story is sweet, simple and deals with the dilemmas of teenage lives. The changing behaviour and mannerisms of teenagers, their emotional needs and dilemmas their fickle ambitions, parents’ and teachers’ roles in their lives; the novels covers all of these. There are also the background stories of Gladys, Urmila and Sushil told parallell along with the ongoing life of Shail.

My only negative observation is that the last chapter called “Dubai Connections” is misplaced. It should have been placed much before when the story needed that part. In my view, the second last chapter called “Exam Result is No End” is the rightful concluding chapter.

In short, the novel is a believable story, rightly called reality fiction. A recommended read to students and parents alike.

I give “Beyond Scool” 4 stars on a scale of 5.

This review is a part of the Readers Cosmos Review Programme. Thank you Nimi (from The Readers Cosmos ) for sending me the book.

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