Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Book Review: Pops! by Balaji Venkataramanan

Title: Pops!

Author: Balaji Venkataramanan

Publisher: Duckbill Books and Publications Pvt Ltd

Balaji Venkataramanan’s ‘Pops!’ is the story of seven-year-old Arun, who is going to meet his father for the very first time due to a series of events which led to this unusual situation. We see the events unfolding through Arun’s eyes over a period of one year during which time he gets to know and appreciate his father in the visiting centre of a family court where parents separated from each other come to meet their children.

Arun is a recognizable, three-dimensional boy who comes from a broken yet happy family. He is precocious but likable. Very little of the actual reasons for Arun’s parents divorcing is revealed in the story. This doesn’t deter the flow of the story. If anything, this only strengthens the protagonist’s voice as children can hardly comprehend the complexities that adults around them seem to keep adding in their lives.

The second important character in the book is that of The Man – Arun’s nameless father. He is reckless and acts like a clown. He’s an entertainer, constantly performing for an audience no matter where he is. Whatever his faults, he loves Arun and goes to great lengths to get his son like him.
While there’s some unhappiness and insecurity in the lives of the adults around Arun, his world is dictated by the innocence of childhood. The emotional beats are believable with characters well-enough developed that readers can empathize.

Venkataramanan’s writing is rich in observations. His use of language is absolutely straightforward and simple. His style is accommodating. The tiny illustrations at the bottom of every page, which give a quick glimpse into what’s going on the page in the story at the moment, are quite endearing.

Though the narrative is by a mere boy of 7, this is a book that can be read by people of all age groups.
This sweet, emotionally perceptive book, which talks about transition of sorts, is peppered with just the right amount of slapstick humour.

Like most middle-class boys, Balaji Venkataramanan completed his engineering, joined the IT bandwagon, went onsite and started paying EMIs. Then the bubble burst and Flat Track Bullies happened. A native of Chennai, he’s mighty proud that he comes from the land of idli-sambar, Rajinikanth and the CSK.

I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!

* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

** Picture courtesy:, Google

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