Book Review (I owed you one)

Title: I owed you one

Author: Madhu Vajpayee

Genre: Fiction

Year of Publication: 2018

Publisher: LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd

Pages: 258

‘I owed you one’ is the second book by the author Madhu Vajpayee in which she has dealt with the issues of relationships and religious violence. It has a catchy storyline but falters in between.

Dev, the protagonist lives in Melbourne with his wife Radhika and son Neel. He is running away from past memories. He has grown up in a dysfunctional family where his father was always away on the pretext of work. Though both his parents were highly successful and rich but lacked the harmony and love needed to build a happy family. Dev craved for his father’s attention but he was never there. His mother tried to fill in for his father but he could sense his mother’s sadness. When in college, he came to know that his father was having an affair and that was the reason for his weekly visits to Moradabad. This further embitters him and widens the gap between the father and the son. His mother’s untimely demise after being diagnosed by cancer shattered Dev and he left for Australia to start a new life.

After spending many years in Melbourne, Dev is now finally trying to let go of his tumultuous past but a letter from India brings back all the buried memories. He goes back to India in order to fulfil a promise he made to someone long back and out of his sense of duty. The journey finally reveals a shocking truth and Dev is able to let go and make peace with his past.

The book has everything- love, emotions, rejection, thrill, mystery, drama etc. The author conveys the beautiful message of humanity and peaceful coexistence. The issues of religious intolerance and violence is highlighted in the book and one wishes that people would go beyond the boundaries of religion and see each other as human beings first. The author also explores relationships and portrays how important it is to bond with the children. Lack of emotional bonding with the children can scar them for life.

The book is very dark and at times, I craved for a bit of light moments. Dev’s emotional journey and his pain has been nicely captured by the author. However, there are a few things that are left unexplained. The first part of the book is gripping but the story falters towards the end. The climax is interesting and unexpected.

The characters of the book are real and each character plays a pivotal role in shaping the story. The author’s writing style is intriguing and keeps the readers engaged. The language is simple. There are many grammatical and spelling errors which are a bit annoying and could have been avoided with better proofreading. The cover of the book is striking and attracts attention. The book has all the twists and turns like a Bollywood movie. On the whole, a satisfactory read.

My Rating: 3/5

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