Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Little Bucket

Book review: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

-Akankshya Yadav

“Everything's a story - You are a story -I am a story.”

I was young when I came across this book first. One can call it fate, or whatever, but it is how I ended up loving this lovely little book when few years later this book stumbled upon me (literally :p)! I started with it all over again and soon realized the familiarity associated with the imagery the words had started to create, but what was really magical was that the lines were speaking more than what the eyes were reading. Even today as I flip through a few pages, it is like a whole new experience of reading and absorbing what the author is conveying.

The whole plot revolves around a sweet little girl named, Sara, who is introduced in the very opening lines of the book. After going through the initial chapters, if the readers were to classify it as a fairy tale of Princess Sara, I’d just say they are being impatient to prejudge as I believe there might be good in things, even if we don't see it. (Yeah, that’s a line from the book :) )

The story begins with the 7 year old girl, being dropped off to ‘the place’ (as she knew it ever since she was young) in London by his dad, Captain Richard Crewe, a widower, which was nothing but a boarding school run by Miss Minchin (yeah the wicked lady of the story!)

Needless to say, she had a rich dad who made sure she has all those extra luxuries of life for she was daddy’s little princess. Subtle things are slipped between the texts in the initial chapters, which suddenly start to make much sense in the later ones. This particular aspect of the plot is seen throughout the story line, and hence kept me interested till the closing line of the book. (I actually flipped the pages ahead numerous times just to make sure the story had ended :p)

The story moves through years, when things have changed, but I assure you, take a pause to breathe at any given page, and go look back at the title of the book and what you will find is really surprising - the title still holds close relevance to the text, as if each page is a leaf of a different shade, but all of them, by and large, channel to the root.

Coming to the language of the story, it is simple yet descriptive to some extent, but above all it is one hell of a plot. You won’t find any loose ends throughout the text. Everything is neatly knit, and you see the knots only when you have traversed the entire length of the thread. Most of the punch lines that come in the text are stated pretty simply, without being obscure, and it’s this intricate simplicity that makes it worthwhile.

Now if you have already started imagining what the storyline would be like, you should discard all of it because, first, you have not seen yet, how powerful an abstract imagination can be (you imagine the world when you have not seen it, but when you have seen it, do you stop imagining? - ask this to yourself after reading the book) and second, because somewhere in the middle of the story there pops up another important character, a Mr. Carrisford, with his Indian assistant, Ram Dass and moves in new into the neighbourhood. But unlike neighbours who walk in through doors asking for some sugar, this assistant climbed over the roof to get back his pet monkey, who had strayed away to Sara’s attic, and that is where a new story begins.

“Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.”

And perhaps this is what the book actually is, which is certainly more than just words, and everything in the world needs to understand it. It isn’t really a big deal to help someone even when your hands are empty. Kind words, sweet smiles, and loving gestures accompany a person long way down the memory lane. All of us have had a time in our lives when we used to fancy princesses like Cinderella and Snow White, but unlike those from the merry tales, this has no prince savior. But it does peep into childhood fantasies and gives the feel of the naivety of a kid. I would leave the rest to Sara, for she is the better narrator of her story. (even the author admits so in the text) All I would like to say is, throughout the story two things are inseparable and present from start to finish, Sara and your smile. :) For that little girl never saw happiness as an option.

Psst...Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book.
If you are one who shares similar sentiments, what more are you waiting for? Pick up the book and be a good listener.               

                                                                       -Akanksha Yadav