BOOK REVIEW OF- MYRA By KALGEE SHAH

Paperback
Publisher: HALF BAKED BEANS (14 May 2018)
ASIN: B07D2GQVBF

THE PLOT IN BRIEF-
Myra!!! Myra is independent. Myra is sassy. Myra is intelligent. MYRA is MYRA.
Myra knows what she wants, where she must reach in her life and what she means to others. She has never judged a book or a person by their cover and it sickens her if someone does the same. Myra has her way with words unlike most of us. She can lend beautiful words to her opinions, her feelings and again unlike most of us she is really hard to influence. Myra has passed her tests of friendship, love and life with flying colors with minimal collateral damage, BUT WILL SHE CONTINUE TO DO SO? This book is not a fairy tale and so is Myra’s life. She stumbles upon chaos and our goody two shoes princess feels she is out of patience. She has a choice, what will she do and where will it lead her? Will Myra turn ordinary after the storm settles or will MYRA BE AS SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN “UNORDINARY”?
THE TITLE-
Myra together with its other orthographical version is a feminine with varying meanings. It is related to the Latin, Sanskrit and Slavic words for “wonder”, “peace” and “wonderful”. The Title is very beautifully circumscribed around the word Myra. The background of an independent woman develops from the title itself. That’s because true travel, the kind with no predetermined end, is one of the most selfish endeavours we can possibly undertake-an act in which we focus solely on our own fulfilment, with little regard to those we leave behind. After all, we’re the ones venturing out into the big crazy world, filling up journals, growing like weeds. And we have the gall to think they’re just sitting at home, soaking in security and stability. It is only when we reopen these wrapped and ribboned boxes, upon our triumphant return home that we discover nothing is the way we had left it before. Although the main plot is about experience of Life, there are various subtle sub plots associated with the same. It’s like I get into a roller coaster, and sit there while it goes up and down and upside down and sometimes I get thrown out and I hit my head, but I crawl back in again and the moment I’m back in, it just keeps on going and going again…all of this, so I can find things out and then I write about the things I find out so you can find them out from me. All the bruises, all the wounds, all the bumps on the head, all the scars, just so I can take that and I can write all these things, and sometimes I say “God, I don’t want to be in this roller coaster anymore.” But when I think about it, if I’m not right here, then where the hell would I be? On the sidewalk? I wasn’t born to stand on the sidewalk; I was born to fly around crazy in the sky!
REVIEW OF THE BOOK-
Although not a fairy tale, the plot gives us a different insight to the word “ Fairy Tale”. Imagine this: Instead of waiting in her tower, Rapunzel slices off her long, golden hair with a carving knife, and then uses it to climb down to freedom. Just as she’s about to take the poison apple, Snow White sees the familiar wicked glow in the old lady’s eyes, and slashes the evil queen’s throat with a pair of sewing scissors. Cinderella refuses everything but the glass slippers from her fairy godmother, crushes her stepmother’s windpipe under her heel, and the Prince falls madly in love with the mysterious girl who dons rags and blood-stained slippers. Imagine this: Persephone goes adventuring with weapons hidden under her dress. Persephone climbs into the gaping chasm. Or, Persephone uses her hands to carve a hole down to hell. In none of these versions is Persephone’s body violated unless she asks Hades to hold her down with his horse-whips. Not once does she hold out on eating the pomegranate, instead biting into it eagerly and relishing the juice running down her chin, staining it red. In some of the stories, Hades never appears and Persephone rules the underworld with a crown of her own making. In all of them, it is widely known that the name Persephone means Bringer of Destruction. Imagine this: Red Riding Hood marches from her grandmother’s house with a bloody wolf pelt. Medusa rights the wrongs that have been done to her. Eurydice breaks every muscle in her arms climbing out of the land of the dead. Imagine this: Girls are allowed to think dark thoughts, and be dark things. imagine this-Instead of the dragon, it’s the princess with claws and fiery breath who smashes her way from the confines of her castle and swallows men whole.
The protagonist of the plot, Myra Sen puts forward the view point of the above situations. It’s like as if Thinking about the journey I have been on and why I might be here in this lifetime. I’m here to not repeat patterns. To not live on other people’s terms, but on my own terms. To stop trying to please everyone at the expense of myself. So here I am, to find me, and then I freak out. What? Did I upset you? It’s Scary to take a baby step in that direction. To reveal myself? To not look in the mirror or take an iPhone selfie that will expose the inside? But this is what it takes to be my best. In this lifetime, to bare my naked soul and my scarred skin. You can love me or hate me. Or be somewhere in between. But I am who I am. We all have many scars from just living. From living life, feeling love, hurt, loss, pain. Maybe instead of hiding those scars this time I can turn them into beautiful tattoos of experience on that naked skin.
Relationship is another aspect which carries the plot. When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfilment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter. We find Myra in a similar environment. We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavours of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems—the ones that make you truly who you are—that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: it’s got to be the right wrong person—someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.
The Creation of Neil and Mark’s character takes the plot to a new turn. Redefining moments offer us the opportunity to perpetually re-invent ourselves, and as long as we occupy a human body, these opportunities will continue to present themselves. You were born to be you, to unfold the truth of who you are. The same is true for everyone else. Every moment has the potential to be a redefining moment when we utilize the opportunity to look more deeply into the mystery of the true Self and learn how to actualize Its qualities in our daily lives. The goal is to increase our awareness that, irrespective of where we are or what we are doing, there stands before us a door in every present moment that, when consciously opened, invites us to step into a deeper knowing of who we truly are. In other words, every encounter (chance or otherwise), event, or circumstance, be it good or bad, right or wrong, happy or sad, is a portal to a redefining moment and who we will choose to be in that situation. The question to consider is, will we be consciously present enough in the moment to recognize the opening when it occurs and step through the door, or will our mind be too full of distractions?
The final theme which twists the plot is Secret. The knowledge of secrets is a very enticing ship, a very tempting voyage, and one thinks that the highest attainment in life is to find out hidden truths, to seek out what is truth, to know what are all lies; to uncover, to discover and to rediscover, to dig up, to expose, to reveal… But secrets can go on forever, for an eternity! For as vast as the universe is, so are the secrets therein! And one can lose, because of that thought that in the secrets, everything is to be gained! But I can see, that all the knowledge of hidden things, all the knowledge in the universe, is not nearly as valuable and as worthy as the innocence of one’s soul. And we are not directed unto good things through our ability to scavenge or to hunt or to decipher or to sail! Or to fly! But we are directed unto good things, through sovereign providence! He is more worthy- the innocent soul who has a simple faith in what he believes in- than the one who has found out all the dark secrets about what the other man has put his faith in! And it is far more profitable for a man to be healthy, to have a long, long life, loved ones that are blessed with these blessings all the same, much love and happiness and safety! It is far more profitable for a man to be able to remain innocent and have love and be healthy and to be able to watch his loved ones in good health and in good love, than for a man to uncover all the secrets of the universe! A single love, a single faith, a single trust, and one hope- these are far, far better things to aspire to have! And this– this is the biggest secret!

But how does secret plays its part? What happens to Mark and Neil or Myra? What is the secret she is trying to hide from them?
You need to order the book from

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RATINGS
4 stars out of 5
Originality of the plot and sub plots- 7/10
Net emotions in the story- 8/10
Usage of words and phrases-8.5/10
The title, cover and the illustration-8.5/10
The net impact on the readers- 8/10

About the Author
KALGEE SHAH, is a single child of Chetna Shah – a caring homemaker and Dwijen Shah – a government employee with a sense of humor about life. She has spent most of her life in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Academically she has done her Bachelors in Business Administration, which she now thinks wasn’t that great a decision because her first job was with an IT company as an content writer.
Books have been her best friends and she always make sure she takes a friend in her bag wherever she goes. Scribbling is one thing she loves the most, you will always find a piece of paper in her bag, with random ideas on it.
If you see someone on the roadside humming retro Bollywood songs with a sling bag and a book, that’s probably her. She loves her family and only few of her friends. Her chats with her mother, and perceiving the wisdom she has received from her has helped her pave the way to become an author.
Her favorite thing to do is to go on family vacations arranged by her father.
And NO SHE ISN’T ANYTHING LIKE MYRA.

Reviewed by-
Sayan Basak
Kolkata

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