WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
Any frequent reader who regularly goes to a bookstore to buy books has an instinct for whether a story is good or not. After all, they only get to see the blurb and the cover, and at best, the first few pages to decide whether they would want to buy it. I, having read, more than my share of books for close to 20 years, have always had trouble trying to explain to people when they ask me how I decide whether to buy a book or not. After all, how can you explain an instinct to people who have never really spent time in a bookstore?
But then again, it is not without reason that there is a saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. And that is perhaps most true for Krishna’s “Sudhi Kannan: An elephantic adventure”. I mean, the title is no great shakes, and definitely not something that inspires too much confidence in the book. The blurb at the back didn’t exactly make it classify as a must-read. The cover is certainly different, and gives a comic feel to it, and that perhaps should have been the first indication as to the surprise waiting in the book.
The story in Sudhi Kannan: An Elephantic Adventure is about a 10-year-old boy Sudhi Kannan, who, along with his father, takes a holiday from school and goes on a trip to the Elephanta Caves. He is joined by his classmate Pooja and her mother Mrs. Mithaiwala. At the other end is Boss and his henchmen trying to wade their way through restricted territory to go to one of the secluded places where they can take people hostage and demand ransom. How Sudhi gets into the midst of Boss’s master plan and how he can get out is what forms the basis of the book.
I will hold up my hand and say that when I started reading the book, it was with the feeling that it perhaps won’t be anywhere close to good. But surprisingly, after the first few pages, I began to enjoy the narration and the story as well. It helped that the language was good and the style of writing was entertaining, even if it wasn’t what you would call “laugh out loud” funny. Sudhi’s antics at school and his rivalry with Pooja are fun to read as are Boss and his henchmen’s activities.
It is a pity perhaps that more was not done in terms of the blurb as that would have certainly interested the readers more. In hindsight, I can see how the title makes perfect sense, but I am not sure how it will be received by today’s generation of readers. Maybe the villain’s name could have been something other than Boss, but then again, for the overall tone of the book, it once again fits in perfectly.
While it certainly is not an adult book or can be classified as YA, it is definitely one that can be read by everyone, irrespective of the age, as it is very entertaining, with the mix of adult and children characters holding the reader’s attention.