Helpline- A Book Club Review

Helpline
by Uday Mane
 

The Blurb

Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things: 

What is The Helpline?

Who is Rachael? 

What is Samir’s own identity? 

Every year, several teenagers in India attempt suicide because of failing relationships, dwindling careers, parental pressure or the competitive world. This story is about one such teenager, his early problems and the hurdles to cope with them. This story is about finding hope in the struggle. This story is about fighting for what you believe in and discovering your true identity. This is not a story about falling in love. This is a story of rising from a failed love story.

 
Buy @
 
First of all, let me tell you what attracted me towards this book. I have heard of so many people committing suicides and facing depression. A friend of mine suffered from depression because of her divorce. Now, she is better, but you can still see the ravaging effect this had on her. But most of all I was influenced by my ex-roommate. One of her school friends committed suicide, and I saw her questioning everything around her. She couldn’t understand how a girl she had known for twenty five years and had talked to two days ago could have hanged herself. She probed me if she wasn’t a trustworthy friend. She accused herself of not understanding her “deceased” friend. It has been three years since that incident, and I have been bothered by the subject since then.

I won’t say that I understand why people take this step because as per me killing yourself takes more courage than living, but then I have been fortunate to have a sheltered life. And that’s why such books pull me towards them. I just hope to find that glimpse of what forced that girl to commit suicide.

The book didn’t answer my question, neither did it offer a satisfactory ending to the change of heart, but it did take me to a world of a depressed protagonist, and it was an harsh world.

What I liked:

1) No Sugarcoating: As I said, my reason for selecting the book were not to search for a happy place, but to understand what a person can go through. The book doesn’t sugarcoat this thing. It tries to explain the nightmares, the addictions and the urge to kill. I am no authority to say whether those things are true or not, but I can only say that I felt for the protagonist.

2) Library book scene: I know this is a ridiculous thing to talk about in between such a subject, but I have it highlighted with hearts in my copy. The book has a scene in which protagonist uses book titles to express his feelings for his love. Look at the book titles used:

It happened one Autumn.

On the Night of the Seventh Moon.

A Smooth Talking Stranger.

A Beautiful Mind. Perfect.

It Had to be You.

Where Dreams Begin.

From This Day.

Love Story.

Nobody’s Baby But Mine.

Once and Always.

Dreaming of you.

I am Ok; You are Ok.

Everything is illuminated.

One Hundred Years of solitude.

For Better, For Worse, Forever.

Till Death do us apart.

Almost all the books are in my rainy-day book list. That made me quite happy. That also made me want to shift near to that library because libraries in Delhi holds antique books. Sadly the author didn’t give us the location of the library killing away the temptation to find a new job in Mumbai. 😉

What I didn’t like:

1) Editing: I feel like a hypocrite while writing this because of 1001 grammatical mistake I make in my blog, but I’m writing this review as a reader. The book needs another round of editing to tighten and eradicate small mistakes which are prevalent in the book.

2) Resolution: I have this quibble with almost everyone. The protagonist of the story finds the will to live in his past, bearing the pain valiantly. (Yes, he lives. No, this is not a spoiler.) I disagree with that portrayal even though many people, like the author, accepts this as their reason for change. I believe that every pain dulls with time. It is willing to rush away from us, provided we let it go. I didn’t enjoy the light that shines in protagonist’s eyes to show him the world around him. But then that can be only me. I am nobody to comment on how much pain a person can endure and what can bring a person back from the edge.

Final Thoughts

Before this turns into an essay, I’ll like to add my final thoughts: Even after those editing mistakes, it’s a book worth one read.

I don’t know whether it’s partially/fully based on author’s life or not; I won’t even write to him asking that because both yes and no will make me dissatisfied with the story, but I did “enjoy” this foray into a suicidal mind.

Meet the Author
Uday Mane was born in Pune and raised in Mumbai. He works as a marketing professional during the day and a storyteller during the night. He is an avid reader, and loves to collect classic books.

The Helpline is his debut novel that was launched in March 2014 at the hands of Padma Shri Paresh Rawal.

 
You can stalk him @
                  
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