Tag Archives: childhood

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson is a name synonymous for me with a lot of childhood memories. As the cute kid in ‘Mrs Doubtfire‘, she was adorable. Then came Matilda. One of my favorite stories ever was translated on screen and Mara was there, playing Matilda!  Matilda released the year I was born-1996. I saw it much later, around 2003. Like most girls my age, I wanted to BE her. My seven year old self saw no greater joy than in getting to live Matilda’s adventures. Thus, Mara Wilson had contributed to two of my most favorite childhood movies and I considered her the luckiest girl ever.

So, imagine the flood of memories when I chanced upon this book among a selection of recommendations yesterday. I kept staring at the cover for long, and I could not believe I had forgotten about her (Blame adulthood and bad priorities.). A few hours later, I was done with the book and felt weary and uplifted, all at once. The book is a collection of Mara’s experiences in Hollywood and with the turn of very page, she sucks you in. One of the most celebrated child actors of her age and a very precocious kid, Mara found she had to deal with a lot of rejection as she grew up. Failed auditions were getting more frequent and it was not until much later that Mara realized the ‘cute kid’ was no more. Puberty had not been kind to her and she found Hollywood no longer had a place for her. OCD tendencies and panic attacks, which she had been experiencing since childhood, did not make things any better. Coupled with dealing with the loss of her mother at a very young age, Mara describes growing up with fears and insecurities abound.

It is a revealing tale of discovering yourself. Warm, funny and intensely nostalgic, Mara brings to life her experiences, the lessons she’s learnt along the way and talks about making peace with the world. My favorite part was, without a doubt, her letter to Matilda. Definitely a must-read.

Oh, after I was done with the book, I just HAD to take a trip down memory lane- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzJ7pFaEJfc

Mara Wilson also writes here- http://marawilsonwritesstuff.com/

Do take a look!

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Warm, funny and intensely nostalgic, Bill Bryson’s ‘Thunderbolt Kid’ is one of the best pieces of literature I’ve read in a while. He opens with the line, ‘I was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Somebody had to.’; setting the tone for a book that is a wild, wild ride into the inner workings of a kid who grew up in one of the best times that America has ever seen.

The ‘Thunderbolt Kid’ charmed me. The writing style, the stories, practically everything about the book screamed out to me. As a girl who grew up in India in the 2000’s, there is practically nothing for me to relate to. And it was perhaps, exactly this novelty, that drew me in. The 1950s was a heady time in America-the Great Depression was finally over and prosperity was just around the corner. Everywhere you looked, you saw signs of a big, big world waiting to emerge. Bill describes each day bringing something new- color television; the atomic toilets at Bishop’s; the Kiddie Corral at Dahl’s, the local supermarket, filled with the most comic books you could ever see in a single place; and the most wondrous of all- Disneyland. It was a heady time in America and everyone knew it.

In the midst of all these goings-on was Bill, with a keen mind of his own. This, coupled with his zest for adventure and propensity to get into trouble, combine to produce a series of endearing real-life stories from his childhood. A book that perfectly chronicles a kid’s experience of growing up in a country that was poised at the very edge of becoming an undisputed superpower, the ‘Thunderbolt Kid’ is sure to leave you in love with the times that were.

Inimitable and perfect to a fault. 

Links to buy this awesome book-

http://www.amazon.in/Life-Times-Thunderbolt-Kid-Memoir/dp/0767919378

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-and-times-of-the-thunderbolt-kid-bill-bryson/1102933577

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

I’m on a high after finishing this magnum opus in a day. Achievement unlocked!

I first chanced upon this book during my eighth grade at my neighbour’s place and back then, my eleven year old brain was simply baffled at the language and I gave up after about six pages. Call it serendipity if you must, but I came across the same book while I was at their place yesterday. And this time, I was bowled over and finished it in a sitting. There’s a lot to process and while I thought of taking some time before reviewing it, I wanted to do it while my head was still full of it. There’s no room in my head for anything else right now. My mom had to shout at me for a full ten seconds before she had my attention.

Getting back to matters, this cracker of a novel won the 1997 Man Booker Prize for Best Fiction Novel (Click to read a review of ‘Room’-nominated for the 2010 Booker Prize) and understandably so. It’s a cut above some of the  best novels I’ve read and as The New Yorker rightly proclaimed after its publication,”A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does…“.

god2

Roy HAS invented her own language and some more. She sucks you right into the world of a Malayali Syrian Christian family, describing in vivid detail the sights, sounds and smells of Kerala. Let’s just say she paints quite a picture. At times, I did begin to feel it was a sensory overload but those times were few and far in between.

The story is a criss-cross of narratives centered around a pair of dizygotic twins, Estha and Rahel, born eighteen minutes apart. The book details a small and significant patch of their lives, when they are seven years old and the consequences of this period on their entire lives. Roy weaves a web that goes back and forth between the past and the present and the in between. This non-linear way of storytelling keeps you engrossed and the story line taut. It’s a tale of childhood, innocence, sadness, vulnerability and the prices we pay for yielding when we ought not to.

The recurring theme of the book is forbidden love-

‘Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.’

-and how it comes to wreak havoc on the family.

god4Roy touches upon every aspect of life in Kerala during the seventies and eighties, not missing any of the details. From the political atmosphere prevailing then to the social discrimination that was a way of life then, Roy touches upon every topic of relevance and yet they are not disjoint. They all come together and fall into place and it is only when you think about it that you realize she has managed to convey everything of importance effortlessly. And that for me, was one of the high points of the book.

Drawing from her own experiences as a child (Roy’s mother was a Malayali Syrian Christian and she lived most of her childhood in Kerala), Roy describes this book as ‘an inextricable mix of experience and imagination.’

An incredible book. An incredible tale. An incredible read.

Buy. Immediately. Right now.

http://www.amazon.in/The-God-Small-Things-Novel/dp/0812979656

http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/the-god-of-small-things-by-arundhati-roy-books-9780143028574-3663928/

Happy Reading!