Book review – Astitva by Monika Davessar

As part of the Blogchatter E-book carnival, 55 authors (including me) launched their books on May 22nd, 2018 on the Blogchatter platform. As a fellow author, it gets difficult to assess or critically analyze books by the other amazing writers on this platform. However, I personally believe in the power of constructive feedback. It has helped me improve my craft and thus I am going to adhere to the same intention of helping another author scale up his/her work, if possible.

The details of the third book that I have chosen to review (or rather analyze) is as follows –

Book – Astitva (A woman’s journey from existence to empowerment)

Author – Monika Davessar

Publication – Blogchatter

Pages – 93

Price – Free

Genre – Non-Fiction

Plot –

Astitva (meaning existence in English) by Monika Davessar is a collection of thoughts on the burning topics relevant to women and the issues that have chained their progress. Monika had participated in the Blogchatter A2Z challenge in April this year with the theme of women empowerment. She has retained the same format of blog posts in this book. So the sequence of topics starts from A for Abuse and goes until Z for Zulmat. In almost all the cases, the author brings out her strong views towards the selected topics along with inspiration from real life instances or short stories. Some of the topics also feature steps for resolution. One unique addition to this book that deserves a special mention is Hindi poetry by Dr.Amit Prakash. The poems are crucial to the chosen topic and successfully creates an impact. Issues like child marriage, prostitution, rape, acid attack victims are dealt with expertise and clarity in thoughts.

Analysis –

This non-fiction book is a brave attempt on part of the author to speak about issues that still stand as hurdles in a society that has always chosen to treat its women as second sex. The story ‘Bitiya rani’ on the topic of ‘Domestic Violence’ hits the strongest. questioning our morale and education. However some short stories bring in a ray of hope and have happy endings like that of Surbhi in ‘X -factor’.

It is interesting to see few suggestions from the authors’ end with respect to bringing in the change. She also speaks about the steps towards taking charge of one’s health and life.

Assessment –

What works well for the book –

1. Choice of topics that definitely need to be spoken about through a strong narration by the author.

2. Inclusion of Hindi poetry – the poems added to the mood of the book. (However, it would be even better if they could be translated to English for the non – Hindi speaking readers.)

3. Alternate usage of real life situations, people and places along with short fiction stories that makes the reader wait in anticipation.

4. Suggestions for resolution in most of the articles.

What could have been better –

1. While the posts were great to read as blogs, it feels a little repetitive in the book. Few issues also seem to drag at places. Since a few of the issues, references and even suggestions seem common to quite a lot of cases, I feel they could be clubbed under a common heading streamlining the book to make it more effective.

2. This is just an one-off things that I happened notice. While referring to few empowered and successful women, the author has given examples of Mary Kom and Mithali Raj in the area of sports. “Mithali Raj—Tendulkar of Indian Women’s cricket fought the societal obscurities and the team made it to the world cup finals.” is what the author writes. While I do understand the right reason for comparing her to cricketing legend Tendulkar, I would rather prefer her to be called as the captain of women’s cricket team and the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket. A woman can be a benchmark in her own right and through her own achievements instead of just being considered equivalent to her male successful counterpart.

My rating –

The book is a must-read for the courageous attempt.

I am going with

4 stars (of 5)

Grab your free copy of the book from the link here.

About the author –

Monika has two her Post-graduate degrees in Physics and Computer Applications. She has been working as a teacher for more than one and a half decade . She loves to learn new things and blogging is her recent interest. She hopes to bring some kind of a positive change in the direction of women empowerment though her book.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. I completed a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. in Dec 2020. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head, three-plus years of blogging, writing, and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes! Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my five-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter, and give words to emotions. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

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