On the racks – October 20

1on-the-racks

Red, White & Royal Blue

Author                  : Casey McQuiston
Publisher             : St Martin Publishing
Pages                    : 423; 499

A royal wedding turns out to be a PR disaster for both Alex Claremont Diaz, the son of the first woman President of America and Henry George Edward James Fox, Prince of England. Up for reelection, Alex’s mother forces a fake friendship between the two handsome and charismatic men. The fake Instagram friendship soon turns into love and what follows is chaos. With the paparazzi behind them all the time and an ocean in-between, their correspondence is restricted to emails. Both men realise they have a lot to risk and that their relationship holds the power to derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. Casey McQuiston speaks about a gay love story, cancel culture, twitter replies, and everything dear to the millennials in this book. Most importantly she highlights the present issues of the young and a world as we know it.

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2on-the-racks

Burnt Sugar

Author                  : Avni Doshi
Publisher             : Hamish Hamilton
Pages                    : 240; 1,407

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020 this is a poignant story about love and betrayal between a mother and a daughter. Tara, a wild woman in her youth, abandons her loveless marriage to live in an ashram with her child Antara, and falls in love with a guru. Antara retells her tale about living at the ashram, and her suffering under her mother’s self-centered version of self-actualisation. Now Tara is old and forgetful and Antara is tasked with taking care of her mother she never loved. This book talks about the change of roles from being a daughter to becoming a caregiver for an elderly mother and fearless portrays the complicated feelings a caregiver can experience. The anger and helplessness that stem from the feeling of being inadequate in the role of a daughter to being taken for granted while the sick person is showered with understanding and pity, this book is packed with unsettling emotions.

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3on-the-racks

Shhh! Don’t talk about mental health

Author                  : Arjun Gupta
Publisher             : Notion Press
Pages                    : 206; 300

A simple, sensitive 19-year- old boy, Yashasvi, suffering from clinical depression decides to end his life. Timely and appropriate, the story walks you through the history of depression, baseless theories, and the mentality of the society towards the subject. The book shares an account from the bygone eras from 500–1,400 AD where the mentally-ill were considered to be possessed by a demons and holes were drilled in their skulls as treatment. In 1247, the Bethlehem hospital Hospital in London was established for the mentally sick, but they were chained, beaten, and experimented on. Today they are called names and abandoned by their friends and family.

How Yashasvi fights his emotional outbursts, anger and suicidal thoughts forms the crux of the story. This is not a self-help book but with the help of the protagonist, history, facts and statistics, the author destigmatises mental health by creating awareness on mental health issues.

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