My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thank you Nilanjana Haldar for a copy of this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
It’s been a long time that a book has left me numb. The paralyzing effect of reading something that so touches you and gives an emotional overload to your heart, Quiet Screams To The Quiet Healer is piercing and raw.
The story that feels like a part memoir with the real-life situations faced by its protagonists, however, uses a touch of mysticism to give it the necessary spark of joy for a subject that is terribly hard. Childhood trauma can be varied, it can be the unhappy house that a child grows up in, it could be ailing or near to death parent, it could also be willful ignorance of your child’s dreams and wishes. Nilanjana Halder tackles a very sensitive subject of how parents ignore the very basic necessity of their child, that of a comfortable and happy house.
The reader is introduced to Sanjana and Kriti, 2 close friends who have matured up beyond their young age of 14 years as Sanjana grapples with her father’s constant belittling and abuse of her mother and Kriti bearing the weight of her ailing father who needs a highly expensive kidney transplant. Their childhood has vanished in this day-to-day struggle and an educational system that sometimes teaches us one thing but practices something totally different. It was delightful how the girls find happiness among books and try to conjure a world of magic with superheroes and saviors.
In fact, the author has called to question many of the things that we practice in India daily, the forcing of your dream on your child, not listening to their wishes, and the melee that ensues for the person who has to strive to find satisfaction in something that your heart is never into. As we follow Sanjana and Kriti into adulthood when each of them with distances separating them find some semblance of balance in doing things they had always dreamt of.
Quiet Screams To The Quiet Healer is soulful and profound, reading it during this pandemic gave me an additional sense of disquiet knowing that there are many out there who are facing abuse day in and day out in countless ways. Art has been used extensively in the story and the illustrations capturing the major points in the story deserve a special mention. The story is long and detailed which works for this tale capturing Sanjana’s rise from the ashes to someone who would devote her life to abused children. I would have loved to feel a different texture of voice to the 14yr old Sanjana, coz there was not much to differentiate between a younger and adult Sanjana, just a minor point that doesn’t take away anything from this novel that opens the readers’ mind to introspection.
Domestic Abuse…..Magic…..Supernatural….Romance……Mysterious encounters….the book has it all!
Being raised in a home of domestic abuse, Sanjana frequently escapes from her home until she is forced to part from her childhood friend and the city where she was born. Right before she leaves, she makes a strange discovery in her hometown—a couple of bandit-looking men confuse her imagination in the middle of an abandoned stadium. Besides, leaving the city completely erased off her mind how a rain-water streaked letter she had picked outside the town library once, back in her old city, had a massive significance in the series of mysterious encounters and visions which she would come to pass by in her college years. The mysteries intensify right around the time she is close to launching her secret plan to provide support to youths who are forced to watch domestic abuse at home.
No matter how much meaning she tried placing on the mysterious encounters, each of them pointed towards one particular word—Tragedy!
What will she find out?
Will the families she will reach out to push her away or seek her help?
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