Book Title: I Owed You One
Author: Madhu Vajpayee
Total Number of Pages: 258
Publisher: Lifi Publications
Publication Date: 1 Jan 2018
Genre: Fiction / Family Life
Dev Khanna has it all before a mysterious letter shakes the very foundation he has built his life on. With his beliefs challenged, he decides to close the chapter once and for all. I Owed You One is the story of promises and commitments, of triumphs and defeat, and of holding on and letting go.
REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY
I Owed You One has to be the most realistic fiction that I read this month. In case of first person narratives, I have seen writers choosing to narrate from the point of view of characters who are of their genders, i.e., a male author narrating from a male character’s point of view and a female author choosing a female central character. But, the author of this book, Madhu Vajpayee has chosen a male character and she narrates from his POV. From the beginning, it never felt that the character was a male character and if you somehow skip on the author’s name, I doubt you’ll be able to know that is a woman. Entering into a man’s head and thinking like him and expressing his behaviours and emotions is commendable. Everything was on point.
Dev, the main protagonist of the story have always questioned his father’s behaviour when he was just a little boy. He used to see his father ignoring her mother all the time and always come up with excuses like he has too much of work in his office. Dev used to notice that his mother seemed to be unhappy from inside, a bleakness in her soul yet she would never complain about his father’s attitude towards them. Growing up in one such dysfunctional family, where his parents are not close to each other and where he often feels neglected by his father, when he grows up into a man, it leaves an adverse effect on him.
This book is a medley of drama, mystery, suspense, thriller with a tad bit of love and friendship. It explores the family relationships and shows how important it is to bond with your children and how it can affect your children when you’re not emotionally involved with him/her.
Now a man, Dev Khanna has it all. He is rich, has his own house, travels all the time. He has almost everything that money could buy. One day, he receives a letter which starts his journey back in time. This time, to come to terms with his past and let go of it completely. No one has ever achieved anything by dwelling in the past. It only brings heartaches and bad memories. He travels through Australia to India in search of answers to his unanswered questions and finally move on in his life. What follows is a series of events that makes him question his own knowledge and what he thought was the truth. When family secrets surfaces, will he hold on to his anger or will he let go?
The best part of this book are the characters. I would definitely say that it is a character-driven plot because they have been portrayed with such finesse and the author has managed to put all the nitty-gritty details. The book is definitely emotional because when you are exploring such familial bonds, you have to dig down deeper. Dev’s emotions have been very well expressed. I could feel his pain, his angst, his anger, his embarrassments; each and every of his emotions. The supporting characters have also been portrayed well. Every character was justified.
The narration flowed easily. Right from the first chapter, the narration grew on to me. Writing in first person is not easy but the author has managed to capture every emotion and described the scenes so well. The shifting of the scenes has been carried out well. The difference in the scenes could be easily understood and they didn’t get mixed up. Also, the switching between past and present is managed well in the book. Often times, it gets confusing when the story runs parallelly in the past and the present, but here, the author has managed to do it well. I loved her writing style. It’s very smooth, descriptive and has some amazing word play. It’s very rare to find books with good language these days, either the language is too stiff and difficult to understand or it is amateurish. But, in this book, the author has shown her vocabulary skills.
The pace of the book remained constant during the first half, but somewhere around the middle it kind of slows down a bit and then the pace increases than before. Around the middle, I found it a bit boring because the plot was stuck at one particular scene. Also, there were some scenes during the time Dev arrives in India and the returns to his home which he promised he would never do which weren’t described much. I would have preferred if they were described a bit more. But other than that, I found the book really interesting.
MY FINAL VERDICT
A rollercoaster of emotions, excellent portrayal of characters, descriptive scenes with dosages of suspense and mystery.
I would recommend this book to everyone. Everyone can read it, there’s no age bar.
Book Cover : ⭐⭐⭐.5
Book Title: ⭐⭐⭐.5
Language and Vocabulary: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Grammar and Punctuation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐.8 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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