Book Review: It's Not About You by Ratna Vira

  • ISBN: 9789382616740
  • Genre: Fiction / Drama
  • Publishers: Pan MacMillan
  • Price: Rs.350/- (I got this book from the publisher for a review)
Single mother Samaira juggles her corporate job and Aksh, her teenaged son, even as she defies society, disapproving in-laws and her own family. But when Aksh is found battered and beaten at school, she finds herself questioning her role as a mother. Faced with a conspiracy of silence from the school, she delves deeper only to discover the murky world of bullying, the secret life of teenagers, and the emotional distance between parents and children.

In her pursuit of truth and justice, Samaira ends up challenging the power equations of politics, wealth and influence. It’s Not About You is an urgent, contemporary tale that celebrates the persistence of the human spirit to fight against all odds.
Behind the book


About the Author

Ratna Vira holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a masters in English Literature from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She also holds an MBA.

She is the daughter of senior journalist, Nalini Singh, and SPN Singh.

Ratna juggles her corporate career with her writing and love of art. She lives in Gurgaon with her daughter and son, where she is at work on her third novel.

Me thinks

I have loved and devoured the first book of the author (Daughter by Court Order). Hence it was obvious to choose this book for review when I read about it. I really admire the way she chooses such off beat topics and writes on them so beautifully. They are often things that we choose not to talk about for various reasons. She brings out the beauty amidst their ugliness and that's what makes me love her books, every single time. This is one author who just keeps getting better and better with her writing. She never fails to surprise me with the maturity in which she deals with sensitive topics, deftly enough to not hurt any sentiments and yet bring out them completely... in a way parading them naked for full inspection.

To be honest this book was a disturbing read. Coming from a dysfunctional family it was more of a nasty reminder of all that was or perhaps all that wasn't. But as I said this author has the prowess of making the nastiest things look pleasant. She dug the hurt deep to begin with and then healed it with the power of her words. It wouldnt be wrong to say that she answered a lot of questions for me in my personal life.

The story revolves around Aksh and his mother Samaira who is a single mother. Aksh is the victim of bullying in school and the whole story is about how the family comes together to deal with this incident. You never realise how a single incident can change not only your life but also your perspective towards life at large. This happens to be one such incident for both Samaira and her kids. This incident hurts them, throws them apart and yet this is the very incident that heals all of them. I loved the plot and the manner in which it was dealt. The highlight was more on the healing part rather than the bullying incident. So yes there was a little bit of disappointment for all those who were expecting a fast racy book breaking down the incidents and chasing the culprits down. The culprits are known by the second or third chapter. It is not about the who, why and how of the incident. It is about the who, why and how of the people affected by it that is Samaira and her family. It is about how to choose to respond to it, why and who learns what in this manner.

A deeply profound and moving narrative makes this a clear winner in terms of recommended reads!

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Dal Dhokli - warm, filling and a comfort food for all seasons (and reasons!)