Friday, 23 January 2015

When She Smiled

Details of the Book
Language        : English
ISBN               : 1502850575 (ISBN13: 9781502850577)
Pages               : 232

From the book blurb
Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more.
Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile.

As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self-discovery.

Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.

Ritoban Chakrabarti is an entrepreneur who ran an internet marketing company for five years, before trying his hand at writing. His first novel, When She Smiled, a coming-of-age fiction released in 2014. He is an avid traveler, and believes in a life without boundaries.

Mrityunjoy Roy
Intelligent and studious… Yet confused and love-struck!

Friendly and beautiful… Fancied by everyone in the school!

What I think
To begin with, the book’s title is sweet and grabs our attention. The simple sketch of a smiling girl’s face blends with title. The book blurb straightway sets the premise – First love of a fifteen year boy!

The story takes off slowly wandering through the thoughts of the protagonist. He describes his first fifteen years of growing up while simultaneously taking us through his present.

The author has nicely captured the scenic beauty of Shimla. The seasons and how the shades of nature change is also well-described. Such vivid descriptions transports us to that place.

I liked the expressions like “Ram sakes”. It looked new and so-Indian. The protagonist’s references to Bollywood, music, FTV and cartoons makes him more real and reveals the extent to which we are influenced by the glamour industry.

His academically oriented parents who believe that scoring marks is the only objective of a student’s life is so regular and relatable. The instances where the protagonist is beaten up by parents and humiliated by teacher was sad. It shows how brutally children are treated sometimes.

I loved the fact that the story unravels in an era when internet and mobile phones had not reached the masses.

In short, studies… Exam stress… Pressure to score high marks… Cultural fests and the practice sessions associated with it… The happiness that first love gives… The expectation and heartbreak related to it are wonderfully essayed.

And, it is a feel good book consuming only few hours of your time. Yet, taking you through your delightful teenage days – Days when studies, exams and scoring good marks were the only worry… A time when the smile of our first love meant everything!

The book takes a slow take off. And, the story ends abruptly; hurriedly.

Should you read it?
It will rekindle the memories of your school days and first love. And, I think that walking through the memory lane is not a bad option. So, go for it guys J


Thank you
To the author himself for contacting and giving away this book for review. It was a pleasure. Wishing you all the best in all your endeavors!


  1. it reminds me of the movie 'Bubblegum' that was also set in pre-mobile era :)

    Nice review!

    1. Oh! Let me check that out then...
      Thanks Ankita :)

  2. Liked the review. Well said about this book.