(This review was first published on the Facebook page of the book ‘Kerala Hugged’ on 30.12.2016 and is being reproduced here today)
Should an author write a review of his own book? Why not if he is willing to highlight just the negative points, esp when he has read the book hundred times and self-edited everything. So, I do hereby review my own book.
A travelogue just can’t be created without pics, and I was so complacent that I thought I would describe it all in just words. Thankfully, the jogging in Kochi gave me the confidence to take selfies from my modest MiPad, which turned me into a serial photographer by the end of it. But, of course, the photographs are not very professionally done, and I admit it. I think Kochi portion is completely devoid of photographs and Varkala is the best of the lot, for by then I had intuitively started combining my narrative with photographs.
I think I have tried to add subtle humour, but I am not fully satisfied with it. It should have been loud enough for the general audience to consume it. At present, it may not appeal to all.
Style of Writing
Though I don’t feel the style of writing is immaturish, but I do feel it is highly unconventional. Furthermore, I have digressed a lot from the main narrative many a times. I would like to disguise it as philosophy, but the reader may just find it boring.
To be very frank, I am a man of few words, and that gets reflected too prominently in the book. Indeed, there are so many places where a few lines more wouldn’t have done any harm. On reading the book as a neutral audience, I can easily feel few subchapters should have lasted longer, esp in the Kochi section: Love Jehad (there was a plenty to write about that girl), Kalari (I just needed to surf a bit of internet to add more), Payyipad (I needed to discuss the organization of the event more), etc.
Well…the emails are there just because I was frustrated for not being able to do anything. But I am not sure whether an author should let his emotions run over his writing. Thankfully, I have added the emails verbatim in quotes, which the readers can just ignore. Also, I have been a bit too harsh to that poor Pandian. Of course, I don’t want a poor guy to lose his job.
Maps, Directions, etc
Strictly speaking, I am right in not mentioning details like directions, attractions, food, geography, etc, in the main narrative as the book is not a travel guide but a travelogue. However, I think the practicality demands a compromise. People generally don’t understand the fine nuances between a travelogue and a travel guide. Moreover, when so many travel bloggers give all this information free on their blogs, the people deserve it in a travelogue too. I have added some information in appendix, but I am not sure how much does it satisfy the need of the readers.
OK. Now my book has lodged a complaint, so I am stopping. I am giving myself a neutral 3 star rating.
Book Link: http://ankurmutreja.com/kerala-hugged/