Life is What You Make it by Preeti Shenoy
Book Review / Love Story

Life is What You Make it by Preeti Shenoy

Life is What You Make it by Preeti Shenoy
Life is What You Make it by Preeti Shenoy

Book: Life is What You Make it

Author: Preeti  Shenoy

Publication: Srishti Publishers

Pages: 224

Price: Click the link below

Author:

Being ‘the only woman in the highest-selling league,’ Preeti  Shenoy (1971) is an Indian author who dares to write a huge bulk of novels with firm and secure boldness.

Her most acclaimed novels are:

34 Bubblegums and Candies

Life Is What You Make It

Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake

The Secret Wish List

The One You Cannot Have

It Happens for a Reason

Why We Love The Way We Do

It’s All in the Planet’s

A Hundred Little Flames

Love A Little Stronger

The Rule Breakers

Wake Up, Life is Calling

 

Introduction

I read Life is What You Make It by Preeti Shenoy at my early stage of crazy book-reading idea, some five years before. But I’m rereading it to write a review now with more mature eyes. In the author’s language, it is “a story of courage, determination and growing up.”And obviously, the novel carries that bright glow of sunshine.

The book opens with my most favourite poem- Invictus by Seamus Heaney

 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods maybe
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

 

This makes my heart jubilant and I fall in love with the writer as her choice matches with mine.

The Story-line:

Life is What You Make It is the journey of Ankita through the different stages and experiences of life. The life that is denoted in the title is the very life of her…how variegated turns and terms shape her thought and finally her life.

In the very prologue, we are introduced to her. She is a girl of 21 who is taken to a psychiatrist by her parents. Then the story starts in the first-person narrative in a flashback mode where Ankita started recapitulating her past that corroded her present.

Everything was going right in Ankita’s life, Abhishek’s love for her, her career, the jiggling of life’s blissful days. She was a bright student and very beautiful. Everyone liked her. She had a deep friendship with her school friend Vaibhav. With her growing intimacy with Abhi, her relationship with Vaibhav waned away.

During the cultural festival of Mahatma Gandhi University’s youth festival, a mishap happened. On the last day of the programme, some of the girls attended a party at Hotel Crown Plaza. But police raided there and girls got caught. It damaged the reputation of the college St.Agnes. Newspapers got ready with abusive headlines

” Agnes girls caught in hotel rooms.”

” Agnes show a talent of a different kind.”

But suddenly everything took a bad turn when Ankita’s father got a promotion to Bombay and they got ready to shift there. Abhishek didn’t want to lose her. He tried to persuade her to stay back for him. He proposed to study MBA together in CUSAT.

But Ankita was tempted towards a more bright career and studying in Mumbai.

For Abhi, his love for Ankita was more serious. He wanted to marry her. At last, he asked her for keeping in touch. But Ankita didn’t listen to his pleading. She could not promise him anything.

” In the dazzle and glamour of Bombay, what chances did it have? I didn’t feel any regret about leaving my friends behind. Bombay beckoned and I was more than ready to fly.”

Ankita could not promise her love for Abhishek.

“How could I promise? How could I tell him that my dream had grown beyond the town of Cochin?”

Even when she couldn’t promise that she would keep in touch with Abhi, he got devastated…later he embraced death.

Ankita could not forget the incident. The pain, the scar haunted her ambitious heart throughout her life; the scene replayed in her head repeatedly. She understood her heartlessness.

” The depth of those words would hit me only years later after I had undergone a lot more and after I had been wiser…In the years to come, I would replay this scene in my mind over and over, again and again, his words echoing in my ears.”

Abhishek committed suicide. Ankita broke up in pain and regret. ” Snehan natharam puchikaruthu.” ( Never belittle love)

Coming to Mumbai she chose a life of speed and ambition. She dedicated herself to riding the stairs of her career. Even she started running and over-exercising which made her thin. She challenged her life and challenged everyone.

She became aggressive and tried to feel contented and secured in the glory of her academic success and daily running.

But the thought of Abhi kept haunting her. To find the solace she started writing to Suvi. She pushed herself to the edge of life…she didn’t sleep and gradually got frenzied due to her suppressed pain and depression.

One day, her parents got an old letter of Abhi in her room written in blood and all of Vaibhav’s letters. They abused her and burnt all the letters.

” Something inside me had died that day along with those letters. But I didn’t know what. I could not put a name to it. Perhaps it was a part of my soul. Or maybe it was a part of my destiny.”

She started behaving mad. She felt scared.

Gradually she collapsed into a mental break down and she was taken to the psychiatrist.

Her deep friendship with Vaibhav, her attachment with Abhi, Abhis’s tragic death, her suppressed guilt, her ambition, her desperate attempt to forget and prove herself, and finally the immature and orthodox attitude of her parents led her to the edge of devastation, caving in her psychological trauma to the last point of survival.

And from there begins her story of turning back…back to life.

“Life was indeed unpredictable and it was true that it could take a sudden unexpected turn.”

Narrative Style:

The style and narrative approach are bold and spontaneous. In every way, the author keeps the mark of her expertise with determination. Every character is of flesh and blood, coming out of the everyday crowd and the incidents are our everyday experience. Yet she gives a discreet touch in everything allowing it to the lofty rung of literary crescendo.

Characters:

Along with many friends of Ankita, the most important characters are:

Vaibhav: Ankita’s school friend

Abhishek: Ankita’s friend who fell in love with her madly and committed suicide when Ankita moved away to Mumbai and didn’t promise her commitment to him.

Suvi: Ankita’s friend to whom she could share everything.

Dr Madhusudan: The psychiatrist who took care of Ankita.

Ankita’s parents and Abhisek’s grandfather have an important role here. There are Ankita’s friends like Sanjana, Suja, Chaya, Jigna, Uday, Joseph.

The Ray of Hope:

It is Pretti Shenoy’s unique style that is ingrained in all of her novels…the ray of bright sunlight. Even in the most gloomy sky, she can kindle the brightest star.

In a very simple storytelling manner and easy to go language the author upheld a very serious social issue mostly in regards of adolescent minds. It propagates a serious social agenda and the associated bigotries surrounding it.

Alvina’s Verdict:

I enjoy the book. Apparently, it is a teenage love story. But the social issues and problems that the fiction explored are more than that.

Though it is mostly suitable for young adults and nascent critics I will advise everyone to go through it. I know you will enjoy it as there are so much to provide you positive vibe:

“The world is indeed a better place when there is love, friendship, acceptance, and hope. Powered by these, you can indeed overcome anything, including destiny.”

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