Finally, finally, finally, after having read a lot of rave reviews and having searched in a number of bookstores all over the city in vain, I got my hands on a copy of Mayil Will Not Be Quiet yesterday. I loved the cover and the look of the book instantly, and after one glance through the pages, I was convinced that I was going to fall in love with the book. And that’s just what I did.
Mayil Will Not Be Quiet is the secret diary of Mayil Ganesan, a highly imaginative, witty, talkative and naughty 12-year-old, who is just about to turn 13. Born into what seems like a conservative Tam-Brahm household, Mayil dreams of becoming a famous writer when she grows up, who will go by the name of Mayilwriter. The New Year’s eve before her 13th birthday, Mayil’s father gets the gift of a notebook from his workplace along with the usual yearly diary, and he, in turn, gifts the notebook to Mayil to practise writing, say all that she wants to silently, and give the ears of the family a rest. Mayil, struggling to hide the diary from the eyes of her precocious brother Thamarai and her mother, begins to write about her day-to-day experiences in the notebook. And, man, are they precious!
The book took me right back to my childhood, when I used to be an avid journal-writer, and used to scribble all my… errr…. private thoughts into my journals. School-day crushes, fights with mom and dad, exam-time blues, the juvenile behaviour of friends, irritating relatives and all the juicy gossip from school and tuition classes used to find a place in my journals. That way, the diary of the upcoming Mayilwriter was a nostalgic trip for me.
The age-group of Mayil Will Not Be Quiet‘s intended audience is 10+, as the back cover says, and it truly is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone above the age of 10. I devoured this delightful book within a matter of a few hours, though the thoughts that Mayil Will Not Be Quiet brought up will stay with me for a long time to come. The book sensitized me to the lovely but highly difficult task of parenting a child in this day, and of how a parent needs to be really available, physically and mentally, as a friend, all the time to a child through thick and thin.
Mayil Will Not Be Quiet is the Indian version or, rather, the Tam-Brahm version of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole series. Being familiar with the eccentricities of the community myself, it was easy for me to relate to Mayil and her dilemmas. Many of her dilemmas have, at one point of time or another, have been my dilemmas too.
I loved the way the book has been written – the language is so charming and credible – it is actually the language of a 12-13-year old. I loved the sensitive way difficult topics like transgenders, attraction, sex-ed and gender discrimination have been addressed in the book. It is such a beautiful way of introducing such complex topics to a teenager! And, oh, I LOVED the illustrations. I loved the characters of the book – specially Amma and Thatha. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Mayil and the naughty Thamarai.
Thinking back, there is hardly anything in the book that I didn’t like, except that it ended all too soon. I would love for the book to have a sequel, to find out what Mayil is up to next. That sure would be fun! And, indeed, there is a sequel coming up, as one of the co-authors of Mayil Will Not Be Quiet has declared on her blog! Yay to that!
Would I recommend the book? A big, resounding ‘Yes’! Go grab a copy now. I am sure you will not regret knowing Mayil and her quirky family.