Amidst all the confusion of life and the pandemic I happened to read a crazy masterpiece. There are few psycho thrillers which you read that you already have an opinion about when you start off and you are so sure that this is how it is going to turn out and then when you read it, it not only stops you in your tracks but for some time you go comatose. Verity is a book just like that. It is simply brain shattering. I read it amidst cooking and all my chores and almost started a fire in my kitchen.
There are always two sides of a coin, in life we all have our preconceived notions of good bad evil. What is good from one person’s perception is completely different from another person’s view of life. Our definition of things in life are very different and the same thing can have different meaning for another person. This book questions all such perceptions takes you to the edge and pushes you off. The book questions the most basic thing and the beginning of every life, mother. We all have definitions of motherhood but this one is scary terrifying….. I’m scared to put in an epithet here.
The main antagonist and probably protagonist of the book is Verity, a successful best selling author who writes thrillers but with a twist. She writes books from the murderer’s point of view. Her books are evil and twisted and that makes her books, bestsellers
Verity meets with an accident which puts her in a vegetated state. She and her family have had a bad year, where within a span of a few months her twin daughters died in separate mysterious circumstances and then her own accident. Lowen Ashleigh is a lesser known author who writes thrillers like Verity. She is called on by the publishing house to complete the series that Verity was working on. She has troubles of her own, personal and financial. So its given to say that she needs the job badly. The story starts with her moving in to Verity’s home to help acquaint herself with the research, writings and drafts if any made by Verity for the series so that she can restart writing from where Verity had left off.
Once she moves in she finds a manuscript of an autobiography written by Verity just before her accident. The autobiography is dark and twisted and questions everything that has happened, everything that appears is probably not as it seems, there are two stories for everything that has happened or maybe not. The happy go lucky beautiful family consisting of Verity her husband her twin daughters and her little son may not really have been so happy and beautiful after all, or is fiction afterall just fiction.
For me the character of Verity is so prominent it wipes out all other characters. They seem to fade into oblivion. Her husband her son Lowen they all seem totally forgettable. I like the way the author has handled the character. It is dark, keeps you on the edge and wipes out any preconceived stereotypical ideas you may have.
For me I had to hug my daughter to sleep. Even as I say this it is a given that you have to read it.
Tuhin A. Sinha’s latest book Daddy….. The birth of a Father came to me via PR Pundit. This is the first time I am reading a Tuhin Sinha. The book is a non-fiction book for childcare written by a hands on dad. This is the first book that I have read that is a comprehensive and pragmatic account of childcare and parenting from the father’s viewpoint. The book covers the dos and don’ts of child care from the time the parents know of the pregnancy, the ultrasounds, what to expect when pregnant, all of it from the fathers perspective to the birth of the child to the challenges of a hands on father with a newborn upto the age of 2 years when the child leaves for pre-school.
In today’s urban life of nuclear families with little or no support system we often find ourselves at a juncture of balancing the home and workplace. In the past this has been a job which has been exclusive to the woman. She gives up her career or has to balance both. In the process even though she tries hard it becomes impossible to justify both and she ends up feeling guilty. Sharing of responsibilities is so essential in the modern day fast life. Today we see more and more women returning back to work soon after the maternity leave, and more and more fathers opting for a flexible job timings so that they can be with the kids and take an active part in their initial days. This is a joy that was not an option for fathers in the past because it was “a woman’s job“.
Daddy is Tuhin Sinha’s personal journey of becoming a father and all the challenges that he and his wife have gone through in this process. The book depicts this role reversal and the challenges that the couple have faced. The book also takes into account the experiences of many other fathers with similar predicament and the result is a beautiful compilation of childcare from the father’s point of view.
The book also has write ups by a child psychologist and pediatricians simplifying some otherwise scary aspects in the life of a newborn. Tuhin Sinha has simplified childcare and has shown that you can be loving and doting parent without being overly obsessed about it. I have come across many parents whose obsession with children take childcare to a whole new platform…… which is absolutely not healthy. Tuhin balanced his utter total love for his baby without being obsessed about it. The “helicopter parent syndrome” was dealt with very nicely. Especially considering the fact that parents hate being told that they are so.
The balance of extended family with grandparents and parents taking an active part in the child’s upbringing was dealt with very beautifully without stepping onto each others foot. The happy and secured upbringing for the child is an essential factor and including the grandparents and using their experience to give an all round development to the child was highlighted.
What I loved about the book is the simple language. The chapters were not too long and the anecdotes kept you glued to the writing. He simplified the mammoth task of child rearing and got you to enjoy it. He has amply justified the nuances of stay at home fathers and removed any stigma that has been associated with it. I found this fact refreshing. The pictorial references for swaddling a child, massage, bathing the child, burping the child are really a nice addition. The pragmatic approach to things that will happen and the practical way of handling them is something nobody else will tell you. The chapter on nannies in the Indian context was very informative.
Relationship of new parents post birth of a baby was a unique addition which I liked. The fact that life does not only have to be about the baby was endearing. The inclusion of a list of illnesses and a table of what to do when it happens was a good addition. The chapters come with a short summary at the end of it which lists the content of the chapter which in turn could serve as a to-do list for most fathers. The references from other fathers has helped give the book a well rounded approach and made the book sort of a handbook for fathers to-be. The dreamy and emotional letter in the end was a fabulous end to the book.
The cover pic of the two hands was beautiful. As a photographer I loved it. It clearly showed the love between the father and the child with the child grasping the finger of the father….. The personal pics in the inside covers makes Neev Tanish very real to the reader and also makes it a pictorial depiction of Tuhin’s personal journey.
What I didn’t think necessary was the lengthy prologue. The book is complete by itself….. the Bollywood connection to justify it was not required…… it was trying to validate the book. The effort was obvious…….The experiences of the common hands-on-dads made it more approachable because the book by itself is a beautiful rendition of the relation of father and son and love comes through to me as a reader. All in all a good read and full value for money. A must buy for fathers starting a family and must gift for would-be mothers to gift their clueless husbands.
Tuhin’s sensitivity of the whole what to expect when you’re expecting and later bringing up the child was so beautiful that I personally think all would-be mothers should be shoving the book down their hubby’s throats…. I know I would…….. “Kuch seekho”!!!
Thank you PR Pundit for the excellent read.