Book Review: If I had to tell it again by Gayathri Prabhu



Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir

Publishers: Harper Collins

Price: Rs. 299/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
Behind the Book

From the aftermath of a death emerges this pioneering memoir of a daughter's difficult love for a flawed, passionate, larger-than-life father. If I Had to Tell It Again is a tapestry of conflicting memories of clinical depression, intense togetherness, mourning, healing, and the shattering of spaces between childhood and adulthood. Charting an emotional minefield with delicacy and honesty, this is a haunting story about the sort of suffering that only families can inflict and endure

About the Author

Gayathri Prabhu is the author of the memoir 'If I Had to Tell It Again' (HarperCollins, 2017) and the novels 'The Untitled' (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, 2016), 'Birdswim Fishfly' (Rupa, 2006) and Maya (Indialog, 2003). She presently teaches literary studies at the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities.

I am back this week with yet another memoir. I had carefully chosen memoirs to begin my year and I am enjoying every bit of them.Coming to this beautiful memoir by Gayathri Prabhu, the simple yet effective cover speaks volumes about the content. The haziness of the cover depicting the unclear thoughts, the doubts, apprehensions and fears of the author while penning this down are well depicted.

Memoirs are difficult, not only for the author but also for the reader.For starters it is difficult to rate someone's personal life story. But I love memoirs because they always have been inspirational for me. I find it very courageous to see someone bare their soul, show all their wounds and injuries in words. It is not easy to do so. But then, writing is therapeutic. And hence, memoirs are also healing, for both the author and the reader.

This story begins with the death of the author's father at the age of sixty six due to cirrhosis. Rest of the narrative is in flashes from the past with various incidents and events that have left a mark on her memory. I have personally always felt that in our society we put our parents on a pedestal, next to Gods.(Nothing wrong with it, if you ask me.) For us, they can never err. And God forbid if you find their mistakes you are not spared by the society for being such a bad and ungrateful child.We are never taught to look at them as individuals with their own stories that have made them what they were much before they become our parents. I can see these thoughts reflecting in her writing clearly. The author is trying to see her father for all that he was, the circumstances and background which made him what he was. And then she tries to connect it all with what she has become in life. 

Taking us through her journey of growing up in an abusive atmosphere, battling with depression of both, the author and her father she brings along a certain tenderness to the story. The rawness in her words, gets onto you. There were places where I had to stop reading the book because I was on the verge of breaking down myself. It looks like a small read but don't judge it by the size. It is a compelling read, one that makes you want to know it all. With carefully chosen words which are both immensely powerful and impactful, she leaves the reader thinking. The author makes sure you are not weighed down by the intensity of the emotions at play in the narrative by also talking about her pet Chinna and her memories associated with Chinna.

This book threatens to break down the barriers in your heart and mind, if you had any and embraces you with a sensitivity like none other. I would strongly recommend this book to everyone, who is battling mental health issues or wants to support someone who is. This book is the guiding light that will help you sail through the most difficult phases with its sheer radiance.

Foodie Verdict

 This book is like Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich - with hidden flavours that escalate in every bite.

Source: Kitschen Cat