YOUNG WORLD

Autobiography in brief

SUBAJAYANTHI B.

Autobiography in brief

Generous grandmother, religious grandfather, dutiful daughter, responsible son, successful husband, wise mother, comic cousin, ungrateful classmate and her own good self — all figure in Sudha Murty's book, How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories, for children. Each story is a slice of the author's life, and the reason why they, unlike short stories, fail to sustain reader interest. Frills like the writer meeting important people, delivering hi-fi lectures before a doting audience do not, however, compensate for the lack of essential subtlety in the characters that children would want to identify themselves with. Preachy narratives fill the pages. The book, meant for children, has lines like "Do we tell our children about the sacrifices of the 1857 War of Independence?"

The Red Rice Granary would have made a good story had the focus been only on the story element and not on how one feels let down by the attitude of the so-called rich today.

In an effort to keep the language simple, the author has lost out on a gripping presentation. The book comes across as a vehicle that propagates the achievements of the Infosys Foundation and the life of integrity the writer professes.

However, the stress on the importance of education, ethics and morals cannot be passed off as unnecessary, despite its overdose.

Those who want to know more about the writer can, after reading the book, feel satisfied. It is certainly a brief autobiography.

How I Taught My Grandmother To Read And Other Stories, Sudha Murty, Puffin Books, Rs. 150.

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