- Reading level: 13+ years
- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Duckbill Books; First edition (22 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 938333181X
- ISBN-13: 978-9383331819
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Unbroken Paperback – 22 Apr 2017
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About the Author
Nandhika Nambi is the middle child in a family of three daughters, which gave her the experience in teenage drama necessary to write this book. She lives in in Coimbatore, where she juggles her diverse passions: medicine, music, manuscripts and munching on food.
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Top customer reviews
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Being written in first person from Akriti's point of view, it catches the readers by the throat and gives them little time to react or breathe. You can't decide at the outset whether you want to root for her or whack the living daylights out of her. Unbroken is about Akriti's life as it was after being wheelchair bound.
Rarely does one get to read books about disability that do not stir feeling of pity or sympathy. This one forces you to empathise on a different plane. It makes you see anger as a possible natural response. And it is not just Akriti, it is everyone in her life and how they are coping with seeing her close her world to them. And then there are words like, "I kept looking at all these things and wondering why somebody couldn't do anything about them And I realised.. I am somebody."
I know, I know this isn't a review. I never claimed I can write one. But if YA is your thing (and even if it isn't) just read this.
Akriti lives with her parents, naturally, and one younger brother. He is the complete opposite of her and everything about him is positive! And while he gets along with everyone, she is the one person he cannot get along with because she thinks she sees him for who he really is, a goody two shoes who is pretending to be good and nice. In fact, this is highlighted rather heavily throughout the book. Akriti’s absolute belief that everyone around her is fake and how anything they do is pretence! This establishes her character pretty well, she’s not just a regular angry teenager who hates her parents, she hates everyone! You get the frustration she feels at the things she misses out because of her disability and how that makes her hate anyone who enjoys the activities that she used to enjoy.
WHAT I LIKED : I love how the author doesn’t shy away from making the protagonist despicable. Yes, you want to feel sorry for her and you want to understand but you can’t! Because she is that awful! Of course, then something happens to make her re-evaluate everything but that is at the very end and up until that point she is just awful! In fact, there is absolutely nothing likeable about Akriti and this sort of makes her a different protagonist because the author hasn’t bothered to turn her into a lovely saint. She has shown her as a realistic teenager who blames the whole world for her issues and this time the issues are actually serious.
Speaking of things that are serious, there is no love interest here. You have no idea what a relief it is to read a YA book that doesn’t have a love interest in it. I felt like I could finally stop worrying about cringe worthy moments and awkward insta romances. This was a great decision on the author’s part, had there been romance this would have completely taken away from the story and the lack of it made it so much more relatable. And despite there being no romance, there is a heavy emphasis on other relationships and how they change and how much they go through when one amongst them is suffering.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE : While the story was easy and quick, I felt that it took away from the struggles she might have gone through. Yes, it has been two years since she lost her ability to walk, she needs a wheelchair now and she is used to it. But I felt that there could have been a bit more focus on that. I wish that the author had showed us how she lived rather than told us.
That’s all I didn’t like. Nothing else. That being said this is perfectly suited to a primarily YA audience. While I don’t read a lot of YA I do read some and so was able to enjoy this. If you don’t enjoy any YA this might not work for you since it is written in a light manner. That being said, it is perfectly safe for a younger audience as well. Not very young, just slightly younger.
When I was asked to review Nandhika Nambi’s Unbroken, I jumped at the chance of reading a book from the perspective of a teenager who is in a wheelchair. I had seen how the lives of paraplegics are in the movie Guzaarish and the book Me Before You, but they weren’t narrating their own stories like Akriti does in Unbroken. And I have a soft spot for YA so here I’m. The first person point of view has its limitations but here it is an advantage; we go straight into the heart of the matter. If you are expecting a story where everything works out in the end and Akriti miraculously recovers, then this is not the book for you. Her disability is permanent and she has to find a way to live with it. Akriti is in 11th standard. She is sarcastic and spews out hate on the world unable to come to terms with her condition. She is mean and cruel, especially to people, who are sympathetic to her. She could have been a normal grumpy teenager but the inability to do the simplest of things for herself, and having to depend on others, makes her angry.
I hated taking people’s help.
Akriti’s life is now divided into a before and after the accident where she lost the use of her legs. Life as she knew it was over. The sooner she accepts the reality and stops dwelling on the past, and focuses on getting the help she needs in the present, the better she will deal with the reality. Unbroken shows that to completely heal, you have to go inward and face your deepest fears/demons.
Akriti is completely closed off to the person she was before and takes the people who care for her for granted. To actually care for someone is a painful thing to her, so a great way of avoiding future pain is detaching herself from everything that matters.
Her Amma is caring and sympathetic to her plight as her caregiver but Akriti thinks she is weak because she let’s her get away with bad behavior. Ranjith her younger brother is a model son and ever helpful, which infuriates her further. Her Appa doesn’t put up with her nonsense and is the only person she is scared of. He doesn’t go easy on her just because she is in a wheelchair.
Akriti hates sticking out like a sore thumb for something which isn’t under her control. She desperately wants to be normal (the way she was before the accident) for the sake of blending in, but this is her new normal.
I wheeled myself through the corridor. Being alone in a crowded place didn’t bother me; it was the awkward stares that made me punch everybody in the face.
Unbroken deals with such a serious subject matter but it is narrated without a semblance of pity. You try to sympathize with Akriti but she makes it very hard. The narrative voice is such that it is unexpectedly funny in many places when you see the world through her eyes.
The only magic I will ever believe in is a woman’s handbag and its endless capacity.
This is a book I felt strongly about but I wanted more. There’s only so much one can fit into a book meant for young adults. I recommend reading it for the unique perspective it offers, and to be aware of the difficulties people living with disability face on a daily basis. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by Nandhika Nambi.
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