Monday, 11 February 2013

Jerry Pinto's Em and the Big Hoom - A Review

Author: Jerry Pinto
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Pages: 240
Price: Rs.396
Publishers: Aleph Book Company
ISBN Number: 9788192328027

About the Book:

Being a stay-at-home mom of two sweet daughters, I never let go off my reading habit between my heavy house duties and responsibilities. On one of my pet library bookshelves, my eyes glued on a hardcover book titled 'Em and The Big Hoom' authored by Jerry Pinto. At first the title name rhymed mechanically and I thought it to be a children book. But, as I read the story blurb I was taken aback. Then and there I was determined to read it at once.

The one thing I liked about this book is that it is about a Goan Catholic family that is not falling apart in spite of family bondage, suffering, illness, and frustrations. The narrator is the son of the family and is in a quest to seek more about the genesis of his mother, Imelda Mendes aka Em and her mental illness. From the narrator's findings and revelations from his mother's journals and letters, we can know much about the protagonist, Em's suicidal attempts due to her Bipolar Disorder, feelings and thoughts about her sex life, and her love for her children and husband, Augustine.

I have really a soft-corner for the narrator, as some of the pages have revealed his frustrated adolescent days and confused mind due to the present severe condition of his mother. On the other hand, I am really touched by the narrator's father, Augustine aka the Big Hoom who has been the upright person in the family throughout to have faced all sorts of agony and sacrifices. Like the narrator, I am also in awe of him to be such a great personality.

I am impressed with Jerry Pinto's sense of humor when he made us laugh too between the agonies and sufferings of the family members. Oh, I have forgotten about one other family member, the narrator's sister, Susan who has been the silent member throughout. Perhaps, she didn't like to show off her personality to us.

Not the least, I sometimes wonder there has to have one person like the Big Hoom in every family to avoid been falling apart. Such marriages remain firm and intact throughout and are successful against all odds. Really, I have learnt a great lesson from this book. This book is indeed worth-keeping. I am sure you all will like it too.

About the Author

Jerry Pinto lives and works in Mumbai. He has been a mathematics tutor, school librarian, journalist and columnist. He is now associated with MelJol, an NGO that works in the sphere of child rights. His published works include Surviving Women; Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, which won the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema in 2007; and Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (co-edited with Naresh Fernandes). Em and The Big Hoom is his first novel.

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