Very few books can make me cry and Akhil Sharma’s Family Life managed to do so and not once but many times while I was reading it. Every single page had one or two lines that I could relate to and my heart flinched. This book came highly recommended from one of my favourite book bloggers and I decided to give it a shot. Family Life is Akhil Sharma’s second book and it took him 10 years to write this one. The story is about an immigrant family in USA, a dysfunctional family of four and each one of them are struggling in their own way.
Rajendra Mishra and his wife Shuba and their two sons Ajay and Birju used to live in of the 1970s. Indira Gandhi had declared the emergency and Rajendra, being an ambitious one who’d always wanted to be rich decided to immigrate to USA with his family and they do.
Birju, the older and the smarter one of the two meets an accident in the swimming pool that leaves him brain damaged for the rest of his life and that is when the real struggle for the family begins. As the time passes, Ajay, the 10 year old boy who is narrating the story, narrates how his family falls apart with time. His mother, who selfishly thinks only about Birju’s health doesn’t pay much heed to what’s happening with Ajay. She always addressed Birju’s ailment as coma because calling him brain damaged would leave no hope for his improvement.
His father turns into a drunkard. He does everything that is possible to protect his family but things worsen and he succumbs to alcohol. Ajay gets broiled in the turmoil that his family is facing but he never lets it come in the way of his studies but he never stops caring about his family.
The book is a riveting read from the word go. It was impossible for me to put it down. This poignant story about an immigrant family in a complete alien land is semi-autobiographical. The writing is extremely simple and had me engrossed as a reader. Many a times, I had to close the book and think about all that that was happening with the family. Akhil Sharma had vividly painted all the moments in the story through his words. Definitely one of the finest quality fiction novels that I have read in a long, long time. This one deserves to be read. I’m sure I will go back to this book again and again in future.
Book Source : Flipkart
Publisher : Hamish Hamilton, Penguin India
Genre : Fiction
Price : Rs. 499/-