Jobless Clueless Reckless by Revathi Suresh is a first person narration of Kavya, about the mess her life is in. A young adult story set in Bangalore, where the protagonist is a teenager living in troubled family circumstances, trying to come to terms with her life.
Kavya comes across as a goody-two-shoes girl, who takes infinite care of her 11-year old younger brother Dhrittiman, whom she calls Dirtbag or Dirtyman as suits her. Kavya seems to have an uncanny liking for the eerie and the creepy, ever since her childhood best friend Manisha disappeared. She has certain unique preferences, like wearing black and a hatred for Barbies.
Kavya hangs around with her friend in the apartment complex, Lara who has Abhishek for her boyfriend. Kavya has a crush on Kiran, the blue-eyed one, but never expresses this to him. Niya and Indu are her other friends in the complex. She doesn’t have any school friends because she doesn’t go to school.
That takes us to the next character of the story, Kavya’s mother. Ma is an irresponsible nervous wreck, atleast that is what Kavya paints her to be. When Kavya’s father Naresh moves to Holland one fine day, the threesome are left to cope for themselves. Ma is so occupied with work, or self-pity, that she never looks into the needs of the children. It is Kavya, who practically babysits her brother.
Ma decides that no school would best suit her children, and that they will be homeschooled (in a home with no adult to supervise them). But for her sister, Madhavi alias Mads, and her husband Mark, who volunteer to school the children, they would have remained unschooled. Kavya is on the verge of giving her board exams when Mads and Ma have a fight and the children’s education is paused. Kavya also has a series of depressing experiences starting with Indu and her stylish friend Kinkyni forcing her to go with them to a lingerie shop and making her steal some clothes.
Enters Patti, who is not actually the children’s grandmother, but an ex-neighbour, who more or less compensates for the lack of adult supervision, who helps the children get in touch with their father. Their father promises to set things right.
When will Pa come and sort out the tangles in the children’s life? Is it possible that Kavya will write her board exams? Read to find out.
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- The story reminded me of Enid Blyton’s Six Bad Boys, where a troubled family environment gradually pushes a good and sensible boy into wayward ways. A similar plot, but set in contemporary world, with a happy ending.
- A very interesting cover with the title design that is quite attractive.
- I like the characterization of Kavya, with her attention to spelling and language, her name-dropping habit and then her individuality which she does not compromise for others.
- I like Kavya’s mother’s characterization, with the several shades of grey – a real character.
- There are some flashes of brilliance that make one smile. For instance, I liked the cheeky dig on the apartment naming conventions in Bangalore that results in Kavya living in 708, Kansas, Grand Canyon, Bangalore.
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- The first person narration with an unedited thought stream style of storytelling seems to be the trend. I have no problem with it, and in fact I like a few of these stories. If I understand right, the unedited thought stream only appears unedited, and it is edited to appear delightfully unedited. When it is really unedited, it becomes unpalatable and this book is an example of that. I wish it had been edited further to make it taut. The pages are filled with lots of teentalk with neither direction nor sense. Half of the teentalk does not make sense to me. Or, just wondering, am I too old for teentalk?
Could have been more!
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.