This book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But, this book is also a must-read for various reasons.
I kept the book aside for a day before writing this review. Probably because this is the first time I’m reviewing a memoir. Or probably because the book was such a whirlwind of emotions, I needed to take a minute to balance myself. Either way, here I am, reviewing one of the best books I’ve read this year – If I Had To Tell It Again by Gayathri Prabhu.
What is this memoir about? This memoir is about many things that will open your eyes to the realities of the world. Maybe you’ve never experienced such situations. Maybe you’ve experienced them, but haven’t reached out to anyone to get through with the pain. This book will be a lantern through your darkness, leading by the strength of perfectly articulated emotions, feelings and situations.
The author shares details about her relationship with a depressed father: how it made her the person who she is today. The author also speaks about a childhood of physical abuse, her own battle with depression, the role of her beloved dog, Chinna. How Chinna and writing gave her a solace that no one else could. How this memoir faced opposition from her well-wishers and the well-wishers of her father – do not portray your father in this light. Talk about the good things he’s done. Yet, this book speaks the truth, and only the truth.
I usually do a “What I liked/didn’t like about this book” section, but I’ll skip that one for something better. The “Why you should read this book” section.
Here’s why you should read this book. The author has a unique style of writing this book. The book is peppered with narratives across the life of the author. She talks about her childhood, teenage, getting-into-the-world and standing-on-your-own-two-feet age, the marriage age, and the academic age. But not always in that order. The book may seem jumbled to a reader, who may want a book wherein the author shares her life in chronological order. Yet, across these narratives, there’s a certain clarity in the words of the author. Like they say, you will understand something that happened ages ago in your life today. That timely reasoning and perspective necessitates the jumbledness. And gives the reader, too, a better perspective about the life of the author.
Think about it. When someone asks you who you are, what you do, where you’ve come from, do you start listing down all your memories, accomplishments and learnings in a perfect ascending age order? No, right? The story would never make sense if you present it in that way.
Here’s another reason why you should read this book: It will increase your emotional range from that of a teaspoon to a wide kettle with every read. I am planning to reread this book in the New Year. That’s how deep the book is in terms of lessons learnt and memories shared. It may seem to be a small book, “Ah, I’ll finish it in two days.” Trust me, I took two weeks to read this book. Yes, me, with my superfast reading and writing speed, took two weeks to read this book.
I give this book a 5/5 star rating, and recommend it to every person battling depression, every person who needs a guide through a tough time, and every person who wants to be someone’s guide through the tough times. Also, to every dog lover, because there’s one chapter on Chinna in this book that will touch your heart immensely.