Book Review: The Girl Who Chose
Two thousand years ago, the poet-sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana. It is the tale of Ram, the sun-prince of Ayodhya, who is obliged to follow family rules and so makes no choices. And of Ravana, king of Lanka, who does not respect anybody’s rules or other people’s choices. Over the centuries, hundreds have retold the tale in different languages, adding new twists and turns.
But few have noticed that the tale always depends on the five choices made by Sita.
That is the blurb of this book and that line is an attention clincher! Even when the epic is named Ramayana, meaning Rama’s journey, Sita is an integral part of his journey and not a supporting character. Devdutt Pattanaik with that one line makes you sit up and think that maybe Rama’s journey would have been different had Sita made different choices.
The Girl Who Chose in 111 pages and five choices made by Sita, narrates Ramayana from a cause and effect point-of-view. The book in 5 chapters takes us from Ram and Sita’s marriage to Ram and Sita’s final journey from and to the earth, respectively. Like is typical of most of the author’s books, this one too comes with charming illustrations that add to the experience of reading a Devdutt Pattanaik book. The illustrations and the style of narration make it a breezy read. A couple of hours is all it will take, at the max.
The Girl Who Chose is released as a children’s book, to be read by children in the age group of 6 to 12 years but since when did reading become age bound! I have seen more adults enjoy Chacha Chaudhary more then children have 🙂 With this book too, age will not be a restraining factor. Even when reading a known story, you will keep turning pages and would want to know what’s in store next. The book will keep you excited about what will Sita’s next choice be and you will invariably think: what if she would have chosen differently. After all,
‘You are bound by rules, but not I. I am free to choose.‘ – Sita tells Rama
The Pregnant King was the first time I read Devdutt Pattanaik and this one is the 10th book I am reading by the author including – The Book of Ram and Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana. But you know what is the magic of reading Devdutt Pattanaik? You keep turning the pages expecting a teeny bit of knowledge somewhere inspite of having read different versions of the same stories. And guess what? Devdutt Pattanaik does not disappoint.
With this book too, inspite of reading a story that has been read and watched so many times, there are still snippets that come as fresh knowledge. Because no-one explains and questions the symbolism and intricate morals of hindu mythology as logically and simply as Devdutt Pattanaik does. I rate this book a 4 on a scale of 5 simply because it is not easy breaking down the larger concepts of the grand epic and writing with such simplicity for children, when you yourself know in depths about the larger and more complex concepts of the epic. I can imagine my 7-year old self reading this book and being impressed.
Read this one for the freshness of the perspective and if you have kids, read this with them. (If you don’t, pull the neighbour’s; they’ll thank you later) No better way to imbibe the moral standards the epic conveys than through a well written and interestingly illustrated book.
Title: The Girl Who Chose
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher/ Imprint: Penguin India/ Puffin Books
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Non-Fiction/ Mythology
Rating: 4.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: Flipkart Blogger Review Program
Read the reviews of other books rated 4 star by Team TP HERE