CONFESSIONS OF AN AUTHOR - CONTINUED
“I AM JUST AN ORDINARY MAN” – A MOST HELPFUL CRITICAL REVIEW RECEIVED
Tonight as I sat down to continue the last chapter of my next book, I received a message from a close friend of mine over the years saying ‘Review posted’. Knowing him well I knew what I could expect from him and I was not surprised when I read the review. For the first time perhaps I received what I can term as ‘A Most Helpful Critical Review Received’. I am reproducing the review on Amazon here –
3.0 out of 5 stars A slightly higher middle-class, 28 June 2015
This review is from: I am just AN ORDINARY MAN (Paperback)
Disclosure : Subbu presented his autographed book on the condition that I write a review. He is a friend since 1975. I know him as a brilliant guy, sharp and witty. Very talented in painting, music and writing poetry and prose. I always thought he made a choice to be ordinary, justified it and escaped into abstracts like philosophy. My friendship clouds my judgment of his work.
Review: Many of his generation with similar background can relate to Subbu's narration of many events and persons in his life. Whether they all can relate to his philosophical rants is doubtful. I certainly cannot. I also cannot accept his justification for 'acceptance'. It is not just Subbu but many of his peers preferred the comfort of a regular paycheck each month rather than pursue their calling. They missed the passion, agony and ecstasy of chasing their dreams. In a way, Subbu's book is a story of their (don't count me out) petty bourgeois existence. The book was not an easy read for me despite or because of my great familiarity with Subbu, his family, his bank, his career and his thoughts. I think my weariness with philosophy might have something to do with it. I still appreciate his self-publishing the book. It is more than just a collection of his blogs.
I think Subbu has now found his calling. This book is, in Jawaharlal Nehru's words, 'a soul long suppressed trying to find utterance'. I am sure Subbu will come out with more. He has something more to say and will end up doing so. Hope the world will discover Subbu expressing his true personality freely and joyfully..
I have over the last 9 months learnt a few lessons since my book was published. As a first time author overcome by the euphoria of a dream realized and seeking adulation and acceptance from the readers, always on the lookout for a 5 star rated review and ending up publicizing them on the Social Media, I had perhaps lost my integrity. I did end up sending messages to friends and others who I came to know through the social media, to read and put up a review. Some of them did and many of them did not. Reviews are helpful and gain visibility for the author. A string of 5 star reviews makes you want more of them and when something comes along below this you are left disappointed. But I have learnt in the last few months to accept it as a necessity to keep you balanced in your expectations. Now I welcome them for they help me reassess myself.
A person understands and appreciates based on his own experiences and the lessons learnt in life; the way I have written based on my own experiences and understanding of my life. There could be parallels, there could be divergences, but that is life. I have known my friend for as long as he has known me. I have been a witness to his agonizing experiences and believe that life had not treated him fairly. But he had the guts and gumption to fight back against odds and make a success of his life. In my view he is an extraordinary man. He is as blunt as they come and honest in what he believes. That is why it was a welcome change to receive his review and like said before it was not a surprise.
This is not a defense but I would like to place my comments on certain views expressed by him in his review-
“I always thought he made a choice to be ordinary, justified it and escaped into abstracts like philosophy” – I never chose to be ordinary, I consider myself ordinary and I guess one does not have to justify being ordinary. This is left to the realm of the ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. I did not escape into abstracts of philosophy. I do not believe anyone does, it is just a way of looking at life depending on your experiences.
“Many of his generation with similar background can relate to Subbu's narration of many events and persons in his life. Whether they all can relate to his philosophical rants is doubtful.” May be it is true what he says, but the next statement of relating to philosophical rants as he calls it, is judgmental. The meaning of rants is ‘Speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way’. Rants is perhaps not the right word and I leave it at that.
“I also cannot accept his justification for 'acceptance’. Well I do not expect everyone to, for it may not apply to their way of life.
“They missed the passion, agony and ecstasy of chasing their dreams. In a way, Subbu's book is a story of their (don't count me out) petty bourgeois existence. Well can we really know what the dreams of others are, and are we really capable of knowing the passion, agony and ecstasy that another undergoes. The statement ‘petty bourgeois existence’ is harsh if you consider what the Wikipedia says – “Petite bourgeoisie (French pronunciation:), also petty bourgeoisie (literally small bourgeoisie), is a French term (sometimes derogatory) referring to a social class comprising semi-autonomous peasantry and small-scale merchants whose politico-economic ideological stance is determined by reflecting that of a haute (high) bourgeoisie, with which the petite bourgeoisie seeks to identify itself, and whose bourgeois morality it strives to imitate.” My only objection is why include others (including himself may be to soften the blow).
Lastly “I think my weariness with philosophy might have something to do with it.” is the truth.
This is perhaps is the first review that has made me sit up and think and I am thankful for that. It is in no way to refute what he has stated, for a lot of what he has stated is true and from a person who had known me well during a certain period of my life. We still connect in a big way.