Book Review:: ‘Just me, the Sink & the Pot’ by Sudesna Ghosh

Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who’s looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to – but they aren’t the kind of friends you’d expect. Life sucks when you’re fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?

My Review:
‘Just me…’ deals with a very sensitive and serious issue of body-shaming which affects a good percentage of kids these days—putting a dent on their self-esteem, which often goes undetected and manifests later. With easy availability of high calories junk food, the problem is all the more prominent and insurmountable for the generation.

The story is a bitter sweet journey of Pamela’s teenage years, which reads like a diary, giving us a glimpse of how her mind works and what she goes through as the various events and happenings unfold. The author has given us a deep insight in the psyche of a teenager through Pamela and her schoolmates.

For young kids, peers play a very important part in their day to day activities. The need to fit in and being part of any group is paramount in these growing years. But kids being kids, some are mean and some plain ignorant, and more often they don’t know how to handle a situation tactfully and hurt others unintentionally. This reverse psychology of kids has been captured very well throughout the book.

My heart went to Pamela as she find solace in her stuffed toys and talks her problems with her imaginary friends. I loved the idea of the author creating Pamela’s alter ego who kept her in line and spoke sane advices, making her think and evaluate events logically.

The narration and flow of language is impeccable. The end was a bit abrupt leaving me a bit dissatisfied. The chapter just ended as if someone has put a screeching brake on a vehicle moving at full speed. I would have loved to see Pamela gaining her self-esteem back and look at her teenage years with nostalgia and fondness.

I think everyone can take something from the story and steer clear from stereotyping people, especially kids.

A recommended read.

Read an excerpt of the book here…

One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.

The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!

My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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About the author

Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher educatio
n at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.
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