Title: Karma’s Ukulele
Author: Lekshmi Gopinathan
Format: Kindle eBook
Total Number of Pages: 245
Publisher: Lekshmi Gopinathan; 1st Edition
Publication Date: 14 July 2017
Price: INR 49
Review by Sohinee Dey
Karma’s Ukulele written by Lekshmi Gopinathan offers a tribute to all the vagabonds out there; the travellers who spend their days and nights travelling from one destination to another; without having any precise plans nor having a particular location which they could call as ‘home’. Gopinathan has weaved a plot from different experiences of the free-spirited gypsies, to whom freedom comes first than anything else. Karma’s Ukulele is the story of one such nomadic wanderer. The author has made the protagonist one “badass” nomad who happens to be mouthy and keeps her personal details locked inside. Yes, it’s a female protagonist and she is one hell of a character. With a nosepin, awry uncombed hair and shredded clothing, she is the perfect picture of a gypsy. In the opening, the author offers a glimpse into her previous life and says that she wasn’t always like the way she is now. What made her change into the badass woman is what the story is all about.
The plotline also consists of traces of love, friendship, rivalry, betrayal, heartbreak and death. But the story ends on a positive note with a happy ending. Stretched over a vast landscape and beautiful states, the plot covers some of the beautiful places and gives vivid descriptions of the scenic beauties. New month and a each new story follows, a trail of history spread across different geographical areas; with an ukulele and dagger in hand, this is the tale of a wanderer, a gypsy.
The storyline has a slight inclination towards a darker side. The script is balanced on the edges of a dark plot. The protagonist has suicidal and self-harming tendencies. Whenever she sees a river or a sea, her suicidal tendencies gets awakened. Also, a little background of her is shown wherein she had cut herself numerous times and had suffered from depression. Until the middle of the book, nothing is disclosed and after a time I found it to be tiring. I mean, if you keep throwing spoilers at me and withheld the reasons, after a time it’s going to get boring. Aside from the boring factor, what I really liked about the book was its language. The language was quirky and “badassy” (as if there’s such a word!).
The narration was heady and was written in an interesting light hearted way. It was like giving off life lessons in a cheery, quirky way. The premise should have been more interesting because the opening part is what catches a reader’s attention the most. If a reader starts finding it tiring to read after 10 pages, he/she would rather skip the pages and try to reach the climax. So, while plotting it is better to keep the first 30-40 pages interesting and then it can be dragged a little bit, then the climax can be set which ultimately leads to the closure of the plotline. But when you start including too much information at the beginning and keep dragging it for the next 50 pages, a reader is going to lose interest in completing the book. So, in this case, the narration was really good but at the same time it lowered the chances of this book being a page-turner. Too much too soon is always bad, they say.
There were certain grammatical errors but they were very minor and can be neglected (but I won’t). Also, there were some punctuation mistakes. But, these mistakes can be easily edited out by proofreading.
Other than the language, what I liked about the book was its cover and the third best thing about the book was the title. It was catchy enough to hold my attention. Oh, and also the vocabulary wowed me!
My search for the perfect book is still on. I thought of including this to the ‘perfect book’ list but with the grammar and punctuation mistakes, I couldn’t. But it surely did come close to the list! My search is still on.
My Final Verdict—
Apart from all the plot holes which I have discussed, this story really stood out to me. I really loved the protagonist but the generalization of all men (whom she had met along her journey, the men with whom she had clicked) falling for her was a little unbelievable for me and her rejection of all the proposals she had received because she didn’t feel quite ‘whole’ with them was well…er…a little predictable maybe? From the beginning it was shown that she didn’t like men much, she preferred boys. The dragged out beginning along with some “hard to believe” situations and behaviours were a turn off for me. But the language upheld the plotline and saved it from dissolving into a messy pile. I loved how the chapters were related to song lyrics. That was an interesting factor. Title reference!
Anyone can read this book unless you are going through an episode of depression or certain incidences trigger self-harming tendencies in you. Other than that, I see no reason why I should ask you not to read this book.
I’ll rate this book with 3.5 stars out of 5.
What did you think of this review? Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments section 😊.
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