When someone you greatly admire asks you to read and review their books, I quake like a leaf in a storm. Can my review justify the awesomeness of the book I have read? Or will it fall short?
Khushboo Shah’s book, The Fairly Ordinary Princess, is one such book. A book that breaks the glass ceiling when it comes to children fiction that works for adults too.
Peppered with quotes that resonate in my brain even after I have finished the book, characters that I connect to (despite not being a princess (even in my own dreams)), and the situations.
To cut a short story, shorter, Nirzari, a book dreamer who feels her mother doesn’t understand her, is flung inside a book. She bumps into her maternal grandmother, who like her is also ‘trapped’ in the book. To escape they need to fulfil the demands laid down by Dabbu, an artist extraordinaire.
Dabbu has a mom who may be unique when it comes to physicality but fits the mould of typical moms to the T. Firki the spider, Mustafa the monkey, Gustakh, and many other interesting characters complete the picture.
In all of them, Jawaab-e-Hazir stole my heart and taught me an important lesson, price of freedom.
With a lesson at the end of each chapter, The Fairly Ordinary Princess is the work of a seasoned and talented writer, and one that I know and admire deeply.
What I felt could have been done better was added more continuity between the chapters so there could have been more for me to read and pore over.
The book, though for children, is a metaphor for how life can be and is a must for all of us to read, if not multiple times, then at least once.
My daughter who is ten-going-on-sixteen gave her stamp of approval and challenged me to write a children’s story that matched the calibre of Khushboo Shah’s work. With a smile, and the serrated knife wedged in my heart, I declined with a shake of my head.
Some battles are lost before they have begun.
Khushboo has written all the poems in the book as well as the illustrations. THAT is the level of the talent.
So, pick the book, read it. Love it. And review it. It is that good. I mean it!
Buy the book here: