Book Review Treat: Her Last Wish by Ajay K Pandey
This book is a very poignant tale over the unsaid and suppressed stories of millions of AIDS patients who struggle so much living their last days among a judgemental world and spending last moments of love and despair with their loved ones.
The story starts with the protagonist Vijay Sharma, being dropped with the news that his wife is diagnosed by HIV after she donated blood at a camp.
The author then starts with the story of the protagonist over how his life was prior to meeting Astha, his soulmate and life partner. He lived a life of mediocrity where he could neither fulfill his dad’s expectations nor could he become successful in making a desired living. The only thing he really knew about with surity were rejections and failures.
Her Last Wish is a very strong social commentary, not only about how Indian society views and treats the people suffering from HIV etc but also on the Indian society and mindset, some comical others intriguing, each presented in a very light and yet an impactful manner by the author. The author made sure to include powerful observations on Indian parenting, education system, marriages in India etc. However, unlike the usual patriarchal society and the mindset that characters have on general, the author has brought out a very strong male protagonist in his novel and an equally strong message for the readers that a woman suffering through such a disease requires as much love and support from her family as she would have given had the situations been the other way round. The maturity of the protagonist while dealing with his wife’s disease, and the amount of awareness that the author has managed to pack in his book over the nature & treatment of the disease and the prejudice surrounding HIV AIDS is seriously commendable.
The writing style of the author is very simple and easy to relate with, however the dialogues don’t manage to pack the same punch as the plot, characters and the message. The cover of the book is very apt to the main theme of the book and also the love and bond shared by the protagonist and his wife, which shows in his determination to care for his wife. The narration style of the author is very impactful as he manages to bring out all the heavy emotions without being dramatic. The book is written just the way the events happen in a person’s life going through such a situation.
Overall I would rate this book 4/5. It’s got a very matured theme and it has been aptly treated with the same sensitivity and understanding that it deserves.