Today I have on my blog a book review by a guest - a young guest. Meet Varun, a student of class IX. He is an avid reader and loves a good game of basket ball. He has the brain of a techie and the heart of a book-lover - some combination, isn't it? He blogs, though infrequently, at www.asiaticvrun.wordpress.com.
Here's what he had to say about himself -
Hi I'm Varun. My interests are game development and writing. I aspire to become a game designer-cum-author. I like to -
- Read storybooks (and then re-read the awesome parts)
- Watch good TV shows (and repeat the cool lines before the mirror or in my sleep)
- Watch movies with a solid IMDb rating
- Play basketball (I'm still learning, albeit rather slowly)
- Make my ideas come to life in form of little video-games or animation (my works are not perfect but I enjoy developing them)
- Write little stories or even cool sentences in my head (usually I feel too lazy to put it on paper)
- Kill the bad guys, hurt the bad guys, or beat 'em up (in video-games, for scores...)
- As for the things I hate - there's nothing much (except the bad guys...in games)
Title - The Bunker Diary
Author - Kevin Brooks
About the story
The Bunker Diary is a record of the time teenager Linus Weems spends in a reconditioned nuclear bunker held hostage by 'the man upstairs'. Written in first-person, the book begins with a dazed narration by Linus describing the bunker where he was immured. The writer then attempts to hook the reader with increasingly sinistrous mystery. The readers are told about a stranger who lures Linus into his van, drugs him, and throws him into the bunker. But never reveals his motive.
Soon, Linus is joined by five other people in the bunker. His diary describes their daily activities, escape struggles, and demises. Throughout the plot these characters are subjected to cruel abuse. 'The man upstairs', their kidnapper, controls everything in their prison- temperature, electricity, illumination, water, availability of food, and even the perception of time.
Kevin Brooks makes good use of punctuation to emphasize and express.
Since the book is written in first-person he alters his diction to befit Linus' character.
His writing style morphs with the characters' development and shows when they are dazed, distressed, dejected, deranged, drugged, or dying. He also deliberately arranges the text with some extra spacing here and a line break there for subtle expression but his language is raw and forthright.
Here are some excerpts from the book -
Time is slow.
"I thought he was blind. That's how he got me. I still can't
believe I fell for it. I keep playing it over in my mind, hoping
I'll do something different, but it always turns out the same."
"Jenny dies in my arms.
Goes to sleep, doesn't wake up.
My tears taste of blood. "
This book is awash with morbidity. The plot is enveloped in darkness with only traces of light. I was thoroughly disappointed by its unusually dark ending. "What was the point of reading this book?" I asked myself at the last page.
If this book had been a literary work, I might have relented. But this is dark and pointless fiction. It isn't even poignant or plausible. You might argue that I have a different taste in literature, an affinity with the positive, and that's true indeed. But I can see the clear line that separates praiseworthy poignancy and psychotic morbidity.
Note: I asked for a review of The Bunker Diary because it is an award winning book with a teenage protagonist written for 'young adults'. I thought a young perspective would be good. And then right away I was apprehensive wondering if it would be too morbid. However I needn't have worried.