Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mostly Madly Mayil

Authors-Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran
Illustrator- Niveditha Subramaniam
Publisher- Tulika
Ages- 11 plus

We got introduced to Mayil in 2011.

Every reader must have wondered what would happen next?

Would Mayil remain the spirited, honest, outspoken and lovably fearsome girl?

God forbid, would she turn into an awkward and shy teen?

2013 end and Mayil is back. 
Madder and Bolder, at times unreasonable too. But overall sensitive and lovable.

Mayil , now 13 years old, continues to pour her heart out into her diary/ journal.
An aspiring writer, she stands up for Thamarai, her brother, unless she is the one fighting him.
She adores her grandpa but not his taste in friends or a particular friend.
She swings between love and disdain for her mom.
And is mostly embarrassed by what the elders do and say.

She continues to have opinions on a lot of things- from boys to bras , from caste system manifesting in Harry Potter to body piercings. In all this, she also manages to go to school, enjoy parties, create facebook ids, edit her school magazine and study.

This book will also have you empathize with Mayil, you will laugh a lot. Some of the passages may leave you uncomfortable - but you are reading a teen's diary and she lives in today's reality.

The content though sensitive in parts is well timed for the recommended reader age of 11 plus. parents will hopefully have had chats on periods, CSA and sex with their children) The illustrations are witty and giggle inducing - look out for Mayilstone and Pea & Pete.

To quote my earlier review -
Mayil will remind adult readers of their childhood.
She will be a reassuring comrade to the child reader.
I personally felt with Thamarai ( Mayil's brother) also writing a diary, we could soon have another gem from this talented duo of Sowmya and Niveditha.


Some anecdotes from the authors:
Something we've both been quite kicked about is how boys have responded to Mayil. At one of our first sessions with the first book in Sishya Chennai, we had more boys queuing up to buy it and yesterday evening, BLPS (Book Lover's Program for Schools) dropped in at the office and said that they used Book 1 in a boys school in Madipakkam and the response was overwhelmingly positive! 

At Junior Writer's Bug, there was one boy who came up to me and asked in a disbelieving voice if I'd indeed written the book...apparently, he'd read Mayil Book 1 and loved it. In his words, 'That was a real good one!'. He couldn't believe that he'd met one of the authors :)

At Bookaroo Pune, we had a group of girls from a Muslim school who had come with their teachers. Though they were laughing and responding with their facial expressions to the discussions in progress (for example, what should an ideal hero/heroine look like, what sort of boy or girl does the whole school develop a crush on etc), they didn't speak much. One girl blurted out that this was because their teachers were sitting at the back and they were afraid of getting into trouble later! The teachers, however, were enjoying the session too and one of them came and personally thanked us for the lively session. The girls also spoke to us after the event and said they could really relate to Mayil.

This 13 year old liked the book so much, she not only did a review but drew her own cover and more!

We're very happy it resonates with different audiences.

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