For November, The Fairy Book Club has chosen the theme of young adult fiction and the country of India. We have so many book fairies in India that it just seemed right!
Though there are plenty of YA authors and great titles to choose from, these are the two which are most available worldwide. Here is some blurb and the voting form beneath.
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Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto:
Em and the Big Hoom is a son’s account of life with a mentally unstable mother. Imelda Mendes is called “Em” by her two children, the unnamed narrator and his elder sister Susan. Their father Augustine – affectionate, dependable but taciturn – is “the Big Hoom”, and they all live together in a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen flat in Mahim, Mumbai. Imelda has always been an energetic woman, but at some point after her children were born “someone turned on a tap” and a crippling depression set in – she has a few good days, but on the many bad ones even the trenches dug by the municipal corporation outside the house might seem like part of a threatening conspiracy. (“We never knew when the weather would change dramatically with Em.”) The family rallies around her and each other; the narrator describes their lives with a heartbreaking mix of tenderness and humour.
The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond:
Rusty, an English kid who, having lost his parents at an early age, now lives with his guardians in the European community that borders the outskirts of Dehra (Dehradun). Mr. Harrison, his father’s cousin along with his wife have been his guardian since the demise of his parents. They have no kids of their own, but they have Rusty, who is basically ‘owned’ by Mr. Harrison as he has gradually become a slave to his guardian’s despotic command over the family through stiff rules and regulations. In some ways, Mr. Harrison resembles Maharani- the queen of bazaar cows, persistent and intolerant. There is barely any meaning in between the relationships of this fated sort of family- no hearty exchanges, no emotional connect or any other occurrence of sweet family moments.
Such being the situation at home, Rusty has learned to cope by escaping into his minds imagination and fantasies. This way he is doing well in his own world until one rainy day, while walking home, he is noticed by a local cyclist. The cyclist is interested in this uncommon sight of a European kid(Rusty) walking alone in the streets of Dehra. That guy on the cycle is the friendly and jovial Somi, a Sikh kid, who within a couple of encounters becomes Rusty’s first and ‘best favourite’ friend in Dehra. Somi becomes the starting point of this new unexpected life that awaits Rusty. He leads Rusty into this unexplored world of India and it’s culture, something which Rusty has only wondered in his daydreams.