Life Is What You Make It (LIWYMI) is the latest book by Preeti Shenoy, and I was more than looking forward to it; not only because her last book was a bestseller but also because this was the first time she was moving away from (my perception of) her comfort zone. I have been following her blog since long and her last book was non-fiction 500 word blog-post like articles. So when her new book, LIWYMI was a piece of fiction I desperately wanted to read it and with Blogadda sending the book to me, all I had to do was sit on the couch and read it.
The book is a story of a girl named Ankita, and her life battling with conservative parents, multiple guys who fell in love with her, shifting her entire life from Cochin to Mumbai and on top of it an unknown ailment which was driving her life crazy. The story starts with Ankita’s first step in the adult life starting in the college. The story swiftly moves into her first experience with the love in a long distance relationship and a second with another guy she meets during her college. Her life changes when she gets through her MBA and her entire family shifts to Mumbai, where she attains the high point of her entire life and becomes a super achiever like nobody could keep her spirits down.
This is where the story changes track from the usual college tales, the protagonist, Ankita, gets in the grip of one of the most complicated and unheard of mental condition leading her to quit her visions of a great future and a successful corporate life. The book proceeds to become a tale of struggle to reclaim oneself, a tale of courage while fighting an unknown within, a tale of a survivor. The story keeps you engaged throughout the book while beautifully portraying multiple shades of the personality of a protagonist.
LIWYMI is an easy and pleasant read but what makes it outstanding is the message and intent behind the story which has more depth then usual college tale. The idea of spreading the awareness about a mental/psychological illness and the process of how it is cured makes this book great in real sense. Characterization and narratives are very real and are the strongest point of the book, the reader can relate so well with Ankita and her plight that one feels they the character is known to them since ages. The pace of the book is uneven, where first half of the book is a bit slow and goes in great detail while her time in Mumbai and the period of her illness are pretty fast paces, which keeps it interesting but on the same time leaves the readers with some unanswered questions around the condition and the character.
Overall LIWYMI is a fresh tale with substance, from an Indian Author, without losing the charm of the story. The book ends on a positive note giving a message or optimism and hope in most difficult of circumstances. The book leaves you with a sense of empathy and concern for people suffering from various psychological disorders and makes you aware of the plight a patient of such condition might face.
Summary: A nice realistic tale with substance around psychological ailments. A light but still substantial read. Every bit worthy of the time the reader would spend reading. A must read for people who prefer realistic tales of courage and internal struggle told through fiction.
Rating: 4 / 5