Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Review: Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee



Book: Seeking Redemption

Author: Madhu Vajpayee

No. of Pages: 194

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Half Baked Beans


Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.


There are some books that have a very captivating writing style.

My first impression was that ‘Seeking Redemption’ had a pretty ordinary but yet captivating writing style. Unfortunately, I can’t express in words what exactly I liked about the writing style, but in the very first few pages of the book, I knew I wouldn’t be regretting giving my time to this book.

Well, the quality which attracted me in the beginning of the book was kind of missing after the first 15-20% of the book. I don’t know what changed but I felt the writing style change and there were a lot of things which looked like first draft writing rather than refined and edited final manuscript version which has been polished.

Add to that the numerous grammatical errors and forced use of words and phrases that did not fit in the context or did not even convey the right meaning; and the end result was that it was not an easy-to-read book at all.

A couple of other things compounded the problem …

One was the constant use of ‘full names’ through the story. It interrupted my reading flow.

The other one was the abrupt break in the flow of the story. Some jump-cuts did not even make sense. The girl gets her parents to agree to met her boyfriend and then there is no mention of the same. The reader turns the page to read about the meeting and it is missing. Woah.

The central theme of the book is indeed caste based reservation BUT referring to it as the main source of problems too many times in the story was an overkill. There are times in the story where the reference does not seem logical. Often it seemed like over-simplifying a problem by blaming it on reservations and the conclusion seemed over-reaching. 

Inconsistency of character is another problem. The characters in the story behave abnormally … that is, they do not behave/react as per their established character. The characters showed signs of slipping (out of character) while the book were, at times, unnecessarily bringing in logic which seemed weird and irrelevant.

So … reading the book was not easy. I was tempted to give-up and abandon on several occasions but continued in the hope of a good story (having given up on ‘good writing’).

I do not blame a first-time author to publish such a flawed work. It is the responsibility of the publisher to help the author refine their product. I am not sure if the Publishers are not doing their job or whether the authors are declining the help given to them by the authors OR are authors not ready to spend on the refinement process?

In spite of all the criticism above, I would say that the author continue to write and learn to refine the writing to make a tighter script with minimal discrepancies and inconsistency. You write a lot and filter a lot … the residue being the finest of what you wrote that weaves together perfectly.

While there are so many problems, there is a little bit of silver lining too. The story has a strong message to convey (although not conveyed properly, unfortunately) and it would great if the book was polished and released again. The perspectives that are presented in the book are indeed worth a read and the author has indeed presented the many perspectives around the issue. The overall argument is well rounded and not one-sided. The overall book is that way good.

The cover design of the book was something that I liked. If I were reading the physical book (rather than a soft copy) I would have surely looked at the cover several times during the reading of the book. The cover echoes the essence of the story in some ways and its good work.


Ratings on Book Review Parameters:
Cover Design: 3.0 / 5
Writing Style: 1.5 / 5
Characters:     1.5 / 5
Story / Plot:     2.0 / 5
Climax:            1.5 / 5
Overall:           2.0 / 5   


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