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Book Review: The Helpline by Uday Mane

I read alot of books but unfortunately most of them have stories that you read and forget. To be honest, I did not really have to much expectation from The Helpline when I received it but well I guess I judged it prematurely. 

The Helpline is the story of Samir Masand, a college dropout and budding writer who is battling with suicidal thoughts. He has supportive friends who try to help him out and one of these efforts end up in passing him the number of this suicide helpline. Even though Samir resists the idea of taking help from some helpline initially, on one of his bad days he finally decides to call them. The call is answered by Rachel, a volunteer at the helpline who calms down Samir and urges him to share why he wants to end his life. After a lot of cajoling, Samir agrees and it is through this conversation that you get an insight into the life Samir has led till now and what were the circumstances and decisions that led him to a place where he thought that taking his own was the only way out.

I absolutely loved the narration of the book. It does get a little slow at a couple of places but overall its a decently paced and detailed. The strongest thing about the book is the characterisation. You can smile while you remember your strict loving grandparent when you read about Nana, remember the time you spent with your sibling as you read about the relationship between Riya and her brother Siddharth or miss that friend you loved to fight and tease when you were kids as you read about the little tiffs between Samir and Riya.

Another part of the book I really liked were the poems short stories written by Samir especially “Joker” and “The Prince of Aramadia” which are brilliant pieces of writing and I do find myself going back to the book just to read them. I also love how this whole topic which is usually surrounded by alot of drama and emotions has been treated pretty tactfully by the author and that there is no preachy tone to the narration.

Uday Mane is definitely a write to look out for. He is an excellent writer and has portrayed the delicate emotions surrounding a heartbreak and depression. The end definitely left me quite surprised and overall I found the book to be a very interesting read. 

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