Bena’s Summer by Shibal Bhartiya is a nostalgic, sweet and yet, a very serious read. The story revolves around Benazir, Bena in short. Actually, not just the story, but everyone in the story revolves around Bena too. Growing up in a joint family, eight-year-old Bena is the centre of attention of everyone in the house. Reading about her, you might think she is the jolliest girl on the planet.
Frolicking with her cousins all day, Bena’s summer depicts the fun age of 70s and 80s wonderfully. The morals, the delight of living in a joint family, the culture, it’s all wonderful to read. But the second part of the book, it is more seriously written. The incidents of abuse, riots and deaths, all of them leave an impact on little Bena; somehow not noticed by her family.
It is written beautifully. Though it is in English, the author has included Hindi at several points, which adds wonderfully to the narrative. The story altogether is not just meant for children but can be immensely enjoyed by adults too. I recommend it highly, for you to read to your children and take a glimpse into Bena’s Summer!
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