The story of a girl who grows up amid the chaos of communal riots and her confused love story.
Title: The perfect eight
Author: Reema Moudgil
Reema Moudgil's debut, The Perfect Eight, deals with communal problems in India, the Partition and its consequences and focuses on the story of a girl who grows up amid all this chaos. Written from Ira's (we find her name rather late into the book) point of view, the book walks us through various parts of her life stretching from childhood in Patiala, Punjab to married life all the way down to Bangalore.
The book shows Ira and her family in poverty more often than not and depicts the sneering stereotypical rich relatives very well. We also understand how people are affected right from the day of Partition – Ira's mother flees from Lahore as a child - and how they continue to suffer as Ira's own house is nearly burned down in a Hindu-Sikh riot.
The Perfect Eight is not a happy book. It's quite depressing and harps on two main themes: communal problems in India and Ira's romance (or lack of it).
Unnecessary details are everywhere and adjectives are unduly used to form long sentences of description, while sentences of action are short and bleak. This makes one wonder if the author was unclear about whether to be crisp or long winded. Unfortunately, any content of consequence is submerged in an ocean of her vested romantic interest in one Samir. Her preoccupation with Samir borders on obsession – “He loves me, he loves me not” – the daisy picking continues through 200-odd pages leaving the reader a bit bored.
The book would have been a success if unrequited love was the central theme but it's not and either way, the book ends on a totally random note. Though Ira is maturing through the book, she's usually emotionally swayed by anything to do with Samir. In the end, she gets what she wants and then acts aloof. This behaviour is not in sync with her character (about which you weren't too sure anyway), along with the lack of a concrete finale leave you with a feeling of disbelief and confusion as you finish reading the last lines.
The book, at any rate, is more suitable for young adults rather than young teens.
S. Vasundhara, III Year B.Sc Psychology, Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College For Women