- Author: Balaji Venkataramanan
- Reading level: 9 – 13 years
- Paperback: 104 pages
- Publisher: Duckbill Books and Publications Pvt Ltd (15 April 2019)
- Language: English
BLURB as on Goodreads
‘My name is V. Arun. I am seven years old.
My father’s name is Venkatesh. He is very good. He never gets mad at me. He buys me a lot of toys and chocolates… I love my father.’
That’s a big bluff. Arun has never met his dad. He has only seen his photograph in the wedding album. And he hates him. Then one day, his father comes back. His mother has to take Arun to meet him once a month. It’s a court order. His grandparents say that the man is very bad and might try to take him away from his mom.
Arun is scared and angry.
But why does the man keep bringing him gifts? Why does he play with dogs? Why does he climb like a monkey? Why does he keep saying ‘Pop! Pop! Pop!’? As if Arun could ever start calling this strange man ‘pops’
A child needs both his parents during the formative years of his life. None of them is replaceable. Each would hold its own importance in shaping the thoughts of the young progeny. But Arun is a poor child who isn’t entitled to the luxury of living his early childhood with both his mum and dad.
POPS! is a story told from the perspective of Arun. He is the one serving his life to the readers with its bittersweet taste. Arun is torn between two when his father who left him when he was born appears in his life from out of the blues. He is taught by his mom and her family to stay away from The Man. But the sequence of events draws him closer to the very man he despises.
It is a short read which one could finish in a single sitting easily. Not just because of its length, but also due to its simple narration, the book turns out to be a breezy read. The story discusses the family where the husband leaves her wife just to return after many years. It deals with the psychology of the little child who doesn’t know why his father left him but is brought to meet him every month. The book showcases the father and son bonding over the smart tricks and clak! clak!
The book has been written in a very easy language. In the smooth flow of the story and narration, the author has deftly dealt with a complex issue. The language is of moderate level which makes the book easier to be read and comprehend. All the characters are shaped and presented very well. The narrative makes you flip the pages to read beyond. Also, each page has a doodle in the corner of the bottom which might allure the young readers. Overall, the book is attractive in its presentation.
What pestered me were a few questions. I found the book ending abruptly at a cliffhanger. The ending didn’t convince me at all. The Man returned and tried his best to befriend Arun. But why did he leave? This hasn’t been mentioned anywhere. Had the book been filled with more details, it would have provided a better reading experience.
Overall, it is a nice one-time read for the people of all age groups alike.
MY RATING: 3.5/ 5
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