Book Review- Beyond School

School and college days were one of the best days of
our life, isn’t it? Studies, teachers, friends, crushes, mischief, parental and
peer pressure all these are common in the lives of a student. When Readers
Cosmos invited bloggers for review of the book, Beyond School by Chitra Anand,
I knew I was about to take a ride down those lanes. The title, the book cover
and the blurb, they all go perfectly with the story.

About the Book

Title:  Beyond School
Author: Chitra Anand
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing 
Date: 2014
Price: Rs 124
Pages: 201
ISBN -10: 9383562404
ISBN-13: 978-9383562404

Source- Readers Cosmos
 Beyond School centres upon the weeks leading up to 17-year-old Shail s
final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure-cooker and the weight of
preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in the other direction.

 Along with Shail s journey from
boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four
main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his
parents-Urmila and Sushil and his mentor-Gladys, in a story that is honest,
funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.

The first chapter itself hooked me so much to the book
that I finished reading in one sitting. The story begins with detailed
description of Shail, the only child of Urmila and Sushil who is blessed with
all the comforts at the age of 17. He lives in Muscat and studies in one of the
best schools there, but dreams of joining Manchester United as he is passionate
about football. Shail is just like any other teenager who spends time watching
reruns of football matches, chatting with his girlfriend and friends.

Each chapter then unfolds a new sub-plot which
reveals the lives of Gladys, Urmila and Sushil’s. Gladys plays a pivotal role
in shaping the lives of students in her school. I loved the way her past is
connected to the present and also the way she handles Shail. The story
highlights very significant issues of modern generation, especially mobile and
internet usage, miscommunication between children and parents, the misuse of comfort
and freedom given to children, peer pressure and anxiety of parents.

The best part of the author’s writing style is that
she is not preachy, there are no words of advice given, yet there is a subtle
message conveyed. As a counsellor, I could so resonate to Gladys and it is
really important that every school has a counsellor like Gladys. Many a times, children
need that third person who can perhaps show a different perspective to them. I
loved the way Urmila responds after reading Shail’s chat with his girlfriend. As
parents we have a huge responsibility on our shoulders to shape the lives of
our children and for that we need to step into the shoes of our children and
see the world through their eyes. Once we do that, we can empathize with them
and we can help them make the right decisions.

This story shows us both the sides of the same coin.
The language is very simple and the flow of the chapters will hook you till the
end.  The narration is crisp and the sub-plots
perfectly placed. A detailed resolution of the story would have been even more
impactful. I look forward to read more from the author on parenting.
 I highly recommend this book to
parents, teachers, counsellors and children.

 About the Author:

Chitra Anand was born in Mumbai. She is a postgraduate in Physics and
holds an Education degree. Beyond School is her first novel inspired by her
journey as an educator.
Copies Available at all online stores:

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