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July 30, 2014

Book Review - 168 : The Helpline

Author : Uday Mane
Publisher : Frog Books / Leadstart Publishing

Reading Uday Mane's 'The Helpline' is like going to your favourite restaurant and being undone by the signature dish. It is a competent book by a new author, it builds strong characters and settings, only to throw it away with cliches in the reason behind his suicidal tendencies.

Samir is suicidal. Rachel works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir's story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and ye so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery unfolds, Samir will know the answers to most important questions of his life.

The author has noble intentions - He takes research on suicide and dealing with it with utmost seriousness evident from the detailing we get in the initial pages about Samir's condition. The pangs of guilt he experience every now and then, his inner demons which crop up at regular intervals and his unguarded ability to reflect suicidal tendency in the most rare circumstances - all this will move your insides and make you relate to his heartbreak with a warm feeling. I particularly liked Samir relationship with the cafe owner and the back story is heart wrenching.

Problem is, these competent portions are bogged down by over exacting detailing of his dates at a cafe and other famous places in Mumbai never allowing the readers to go beyond the obvious. As you move forward in the book, the mystery is clearly founded way before the climax which is a terrible disappointment. I was also undone that those initial well written portions about Samir's depression ultimately draws down from a heart break and takes the usual, safe route of every other book you will find in market these days. At 230 odd pages, the book is long and will drain you out barring the sincere emotions behind penning it down.

I am going with generous 3/5 for Uday Mane's 'The Helpline'. Chances are you will love the first 50 odd pages, only to be undone by the safe zone author takes to complete this story. In my opinion, an opportunity wasted but i do hope to read more from the author in future.

Note: “Proceedings of Rs. 5 per book will be used for child welfare through The Rotary Foundation”

Note: “This book is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book review Program. To get free books log on to "

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