Title: Siya Seth Decides To Die
Author: Sneha Mehta
Year Published: 2011
My Rating: 1 on 5
Looks like this book got the inspiration for its title from Paulo Coelho’s popular book Veronika Decides To Die. Both the books share a common theme of protagonist’s desire/attempt at suicide and the similarity ends there. The title itself varies so much in both these books: the title of Coelho’s book evokes emotional reaction whereas the other sounds like a news headline. Never knew a last name could alter the book’s title and its effect on the readers.
Siya is a depressed teenager who has a dark secret buried deep inside her heart. She is depressed, lonely and sad. She is also stinking rich, an only child and has servants attending to her day in and day out, so nobody can understand why a filthy rich and good looking teenager could be miserable. As readers we do know it has to do something with her dark secret.
The book has a very strong opening. Siya is dead and she is narrating from up above. This scene is similar to Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold where the young girl is murdered and is narrating the story from heaven. The tone of the book is sarcastic which suits the protagonist quite well. A teenager’s rage comes across really well in the first few pages.
No prizes for guessing what Siya’s dark secret is since the blurb of the book talks about child abuse. It takes Siya a long time to get to the point of the book and spill the beans and when she does, there is no surprise. We learn more about Siya through her friends and her school. She decides to rebel and starts dating a much older guy only to realize she made a terrible mistake.
While the focus is no doubt on Siya, the reader feels let down because the other characters are so poorly drawn. The culprit is hidden in the dark, so you never know why the person did what he did. I would have loved to know what goes in the mind of a child abuser, which I guess was not the author’s intent.
The book does lack a gripping story line and stronger characters, but what makes this book really disappointing is the numerous typos and grammatical errors. It starts right from page one and the trend continues till the end. The mistakes are minor and could have been caught during proofreading, but the fact that they weren’t makes the reader feel that the author doesn’t take her own book seriously. And if she doesn’t, why would the readers take it seriously? It is not hard to auto-correct these mistakes as you read, which is what I did, but it just shows carelessness on the author’s and the publisher’s part.
I am glad to see an Indian author writing a book on such a strong topic. Atleast through books like this, people will start to identify this as a problem and do something towards curbing it.