A Bowlful of Butterflies by Ritu Lalit – Book Review


The début novel of Ritu Lalit , A Bowlful of Butterflies, has a fast paced  story that revolves around a middle class family based in NCR region.  The novel is primarily written for young adults but it resonates deeply with all of  us who have  been part of such extended middle class close-knit families. The younger generation of readers will surely relate with it.

It effectively portrays the angst, growing up pains, insecurities, complexities of relationships, new-found sexual urges, first crushes, dilemmas of career choices, continuous peer and parental pressure and the rebelliousness among the characters around whom the plot revolves.

As you progress reading the story holds your attention and urges you to become a part of  it, to participate  in the conversation. There were times when I felt like saying , ‘”where the heck was all this fun when I was growing up? why didn’t I have friends like Chandini ( Chandu), Amrit,  Soma ? It is an enjoyable refreshing read.

Some of the social issues like sexual preferences,  relationship issues like extra marital affairs, repercussions of parental discord on children are dealt with such subtlety.  The unspoken desires, hidden urges, the emotional upheavals that run deep through out the teenage hood are portrayed very deftly in the book.  Acceptance of  Vickramjeet (Vicky) as gay and his unconventional career choice of becoming a musician is a shocking experience for the middle class Ratra family. A reflection on  our society’s closed mind.

It was interesting to see Ritu bring out the attraction between Chandu and Jogi. It made me laugh as I remembered my teenage days and the huge crush I had on my cousin.  Not all accept it but it sure happens that  often the first crush comes within the extended family.

The novel certainly gives a cue to follow ones passion and make desired choices without succumbing to social pressures. The readers are left to ponder and gain some insight from the happenings in lives of these youngsters and their families.

I thought the dénouement was a bit weak. It seemed the author wanted a happy ending and a quick closure.  

The title A Bowlful of Butterflies is symbolic in more than one ways. Butterflies are symbols of the impressive process of metamorphosis. The kind of energy this transformation expends in such shot time is commendable. The plot of the novel spans a period of four months which show  transition of Chandini from girlhood to womanhood as she embraces the chances of her environment and her body and emerges with unfurling glory of  multi-hued butterfly. It also symbolizes the endless passionate bonds she shares with her siblings, childhood friends Soma and Amrit, her cousin Jogi and her first love Avni.

I am sure at some point or the other the story would touch a heart string and create music in the reader’s life. Life sure is a bowlful of Butterflies,  fragile, colorful and transitory.

Overall a light, entertaining read.

you can buy the book  HERE