Book: 7 To The Other Side
Author: Roma Dutia
Publisher: Locksley Hall
Genre: ‘Racy’ drama
In One Line: 49 minutes to finish ‘7 To The Other Side’ (Yup, I clocked it. Usually do. Oh OK, maybe it was 50. But the ‘square of 7’ makes it dramatic. That’s what we authors always strive to do – dramatise!)
Characterisation: All the characters seem too good. Sometimes too good to be true. There’s no other shade in them. At all. This makes them a little unreal for the real world. Adding shades of grey to them would have, in fact, made the story a more interesting one because, at times, since all the characters are ‘goody goody’, the read gets a tad monotonous.
Language: Just before dying, scenes flash before a person’s eyes and he relives his life in a matter of moments. 7 minutes apparently. Science says this. The author seems to want to match this speed and hence the speed at which the book flows. It touches upon a lot but doesn’t go into an in depth analysis of it. Just the way the dying moments are for a person. Somehow, I think, this has been consciously done by the author and not because she didn’t know how to write in greater details or because she was in a hurry to showcase her story to the world.
While we are talking about the language, i loved some of the lines in the book. One of my favourite is: “I’ve come to terms with the fact that we are all a little broken and tuts okay, because however stupid it may sound, it makes us feel more alive than anything else could.”
Plot Setting: Not much is known about where the story is set except the mention of the protagonist’s school – Richmond Elementary. Once they go to India, Mumbai (and Cafe Mondegar at Colaba) is mentioned a few times though.
Book Cover Art: I didn’t quite understand the book cover. Would have preferred seeing something that revolved around ‘souls’ and ‘dying moments’.
How’s the Title: I liked the title of the story. It says as much as it needs to say – conveying the right ethos to the reader. And yet, since it directly doesn’t spell out what the tale is about, the suspense that’s inside the book is maintained as well.
Is The Blurb Catchy: The line, “What if you had 7 minutes to relive your life? What would you like to see?” is a gripping one. It catches the attention. So I guess, its job is done. The issue comes later when the reading of the book is done. The story seems less exciting than what the blurb line promises. For example, the entire tale is about Joshua and all his life’s incidents. There’s nothing new in these incidents. Somehow if the author could have harped a little more on the fact that this is a flash that the protagonist is seeing while his life is ending (say, by talking about how his soul is n analysing the incident, then it would have made it more interesting).
Learning From The Story: Even a good story can get spoilt due to the language errors. Also, while there’s no need to make the writing purposefully verbose, making incidents happen too swiftly can make it appear more like a story synopsis rather than the real story, !
Areas Of Improvement:
- Spotted more than a handful of grammatical and syntax errors.
- Some parts in the story is a little questionable or maybe has just been left unanswered. For example, why did they go to India?
What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: We might as well live a full life and do everything that we want to do just so that when it all flashes back in front of us, minutes before we leave this world, there will be enough to ‘see’.
My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book:
The extra smile is for the author because she had the courage to tell the readers that the title was suggested by someone else.
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