One of the most challenging voices in contemporary young adult literature.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

It is time when otherness is frowned on. The Other is supposedly an anti social element, even though society prides itself on its supposed liberalism. Yet teens are very conscious of their otherness and awkward about what to do with it. Who is the Other? Is it you? Is it me? Is it all of us?” that is what the blurb on the cover of Paro Anand’s book asks. The questions are stoppers because they provoke thought about what we subject those who are different to – whether on social media or face to face in society.

This collection of short stories tackles the question of difference from many different angles. Like the story of a pair of stunted sisters who find themselves redefined as ugly when their beautiful perfect sibling is born. There are issues of physical handicaps and the problems they can throw up in the face of romance – a boy with an external urine bag aspires to the beautiful girl in his class. Gender bending also appears when a boy who thinks he is a girl trapped in a male body confesses this to his best friend, a girl. As a result they have to relook at their friendship.

Ultimately, The Other deals with the important issue of coming to terms with ones self.

“What does not kill you only makes you stronger,” is the message for many of these stories., which are bold and likely to make an impact on teachers and caregivers, helping them understand how to deal with their charges better.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 2nd March 2019

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Anjana Basu