Monday, December 20, 2021

Review: Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi Vohra @FishyRishi

Diary of an Angry Young Man

by Rishi Vohra

Published: August 15, 2021

Genre: New Adult, Fiction, Crime, Drama


Raghav is an ordinary seven-year-old growing up on the 'good' side of Colaba in Bombay. His is a safe, protected world and he is kept well away from the 'other', darker side of Colaba, which nevertheless, holds a deep fascination for him with its colorful, busy alleys bustling with activity, people and mystery - the 'real' world as far he is concerned.

But life has other plans and Raghav's entire world comes crashing down one day. In the space of a few crucial hours, his childish innocence is ripped away brutally, and he also loses the one person who may have made his world right again - his mother. That fateful day alters the course of his life and the 'other' side is the only place he can escape his now truly miserable home life and his bitter father who he resents more and more each day. He never tells even his closest friends about the horrific abuse he suffered the day his mother died, the day a fierce, burning anger took root in his very soul.

Now, 20 years later, all his peers and friends are settling down into jobs and the business of growing up. But Raghav is still trapped between his now suffocating relationship with his father, his own inability to find a job and make a life for himself and the painful memories of his childhood ordeal that still haunt him. And this is when he meets Rani one day, an orphan beggar girl who knows life on the streets of Mumbai, but not in the way Raghav does. He wants to 'save' Rani from the beggar mafia and give her a chance at a better life. His strong need to stand up for something, to truly help someone is fueled by the recent Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi, that evokes painful memories of his own past trauma.

Set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, and inspired by true events, Diary of an Angry Young Man is a coming-of-age urban drama that explores the complex layers of humanity. And the city that engenders them.

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My Review:

Raghav a seven-year-old little boy grew up in Colaba in Bombay on what is known as the good side. Raghav is a loner as he has no friends in his neighborhood or at school. Raghav is bullied by one of the children from his school who lives a richer lifestyle than Raghav and his family.

Raghav helps a little boy from the other side of Colaba whom he sees in his neighborhood close to curfew. Raghav and Faisal become very good friends and spend a lot of their time together at a restaurant on the other side of Colaba.

Raghav's life is turned upside down on the day his mother was whisked away to the hospital and he never sees her again. On that awful day, another tragedy strikes Raghav's life that changes his life in more ways than one.

I cried for Raghav on this day as my heart broke for him. That was one day in Raghav's life that was so very hard to read. I wanted to reach into the book and give Raghav the biggest hug ever. I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and never let go.

Raghav carried the events that transpired on that day with him forever never telling anyone what happened to him on that sad, awful day. Raghav took the events of that day and packed them way down deep into his heart.

I imagine that every time that tragedy jumped up to the front of his brain he would pack it down in his heart once again making his heart harder and harder, doing this every time it popped up.

I imagine that that day not only changed Raghav's life but it changed him as well. On that day Raghav probably became a different person. I imagine it like a canoe. You have to dig out the old person to make room for the new person. If that makes sense to anyone but me.

That awful day followed Raghav into his adult life-shaping and changing him and his life making him the person he became. Raghav had no idea where his life was going or what he wanted from it until the day he met a little girl standing over the body of her mother who died of TB. That day also changed Raghav’s life again leading him to be a different person, maybe the person he was always meant to be.

But I don’t really believe that as I believe that we have to experience the things we do in life to make us the people we become. Without those experiences, we would undoubtedly be someone totally different.

Diary of an Angry Young Man is a fast-paced read that once I picked it up I couldn’t lay it down until I had read the last page. Diary of an Angry Young Man was a heat-wrenching and compelling story that will stay with me for a long, long time to come. I believe that I will take Raghav's story with me where ever I go tucked away in its own little corner of my heart.

I would recommend Diary of an Angry Young Man to anyone who likes reading crime drama, fiction stories based on real-life events. I do give warning that the Diary of an Angry Young Man may not be suitable to all.  

Book Trailer:

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