Author: Rajashree Anand
Publisher: Frog books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing
Cover design: Mishta Roy
Cover : 2.5/5
Title : 3.5/5
Blurb : 3/5
Story : 3.5/5
Theme : 3.5/5
Characters : 3/5
Overall : 3/5
Tormented by a group of cyber-bullies in Smithsonian College, Katya Mishra reaches out to Tara Ghosh. Her appeal is marked “spam” by the journalist, who’s caught in her own world of choices: career, family and newfound love. Matters were also getting worse in South Hall for Ralph Archer who was already a victim of ‘a host of hate-pages on FB’. Can each of them find solutions to their problems and solve those of others?
“I’m Not a Retard!” seeks to make people aware of the downsides of this newly-found medium of expression and is the voice of silent rebellion from the many students and adults faced by instances of cyber-bullying in their lives.
Through an interplay of narrative voices, the reader is taken on a voyage, experiencing the twists and turns of characters who meander through the complex intricacies and ironic shortcomings of the cyber-world.
“I’m Not A Retard!” by Rajashree Anand is a novel covering a very sensitive issue in today’s world – cyber-bullying. For the novice, cyber-bullying means the use of internet and mobile technologies to bully, esp. amongst children and teenagers. With the amount of internet users increasing manifold day-by-day, people, especially children and teenagers, are not really aware about the consequences of sharing all the personal and even public stuff over the internet; their photos, locations, fights, etc. Where on one hand internet is a boon if used wisely, on the other hand it is also a curse. It helps spread awareness about the ill-happenings of our neighborhood to seek help from the wise. But this same thing can also be a cause of concern for the person exposing it.
Rajashree has very skillfully covered varied types of cyber-bullying activities that happen amongst teenagers these days. They are the ones who are most susceptible to influence, be it from their siblings, peers or even elders. Their tolerance level too is low as they live in a world which moves at lightning fast speed. The story covers a set of teenagers who bully their fellow mates in one of the most reputed colleges of South Delhi. And when one student does take a step forward to oppose them and expose their wrong doings, he and his friends are threatened, bullied verbally and at a point physically too, for trying to get them down. It is disheartening to even imagine the extent to which students can go these days. The protagonist tries to seek help from a well-known journalist but it takes a hell lot of effort to put forth the on-goings behind the walls of a reputed college.
A good amount of effort has been put in by Rajashree in narrating the story. Cyber bullying being a sensitive issue was portrayed very carefully.
The script on the whole seems disoriented or disconnected at times. It was repulsive till almost mid-way. Maybe the distributed story plots were worked out inefficiently.
Fairly good read. (3/5)
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