Beyond School | Chitra Anand | Book Review

Beyond School Chitra AnandPLOT: 3/5

If there is any better novel written on board examinations and the kind of effect they have on kids, then I request one and all that please do let me know, because I have surely never across a better one.

Beyond School showcases all that is there about board examinations and does so beautifully and very cleverly. Board examinations, undoubtedly are a phase which most of us still have nightmares about and one which one will only forget on his deathbed.

So what is in this novel which hits the right chord and makes it click?

Shail Abhyankar is a seventeen something schoolboy, who has only one goal in life, that to become a world-class footballer and it is this dream which keeps him from preparing ardently for his upcoming board examinations.

Having failed in pre-boards, Shail has unwaveringly (and secretly) decided that he will not appear for this year’s examinations.

So, when his parents finally get to know his one-sided and super impractical decision, they have no choice but to take him to the school counsellor Miss Gladys.

This story of Beyond School is about Shail and how he manoeuvres his way through his examinations, but it also simultaneously explores the life of Sushil and Urmila Abhyankar (Shail’s parents) and Miss Gladys.

The stories are so beautifully and seamlessly woven into each other that the book seems as smooth as butter and the reader cannot help but marvel at the author’s brilliance at the same.

In between this, are the episodes about co-footballer and close friend Aaron, girlfriend Shruti and many other small characters, each of whom is important in its own way and is a pleasure to read about.

The writing style is simply the best part of the book and the way the story is crafted and flawlessly made to time travel between Shail’s now and Glady’s and Sushil’s then is indeed the mark of sheer brilliance.

I liked the characters too and the backdrop of the story. The theme too was a welcome change from the regular college love angles or the autobiographical works have become the regular norm in today’s Indian writing.

I liked the cover too. It was quite apt and well-conceived. All of 200 pages, this book was a pleasure to read and needless to say, at the end of it, I found myself craving for more.

In the end, I would rate Beyond School a three and a half stars out of five and would recommend it all my readers who are looking for something different and more meaningful than the regular 200-odd-pages novels which are flooding the market these days.

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