Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Whistling Schoolboy and other stories of school life - book review


Ruskin Bond’s books are all about innocence, poignancy, hills and some intrigue. Even the whistling school boy and other stories of school life is no exception to it.

The book is divided into two parts. The first set of stories is titled school days with Ruskin while the other is called School days, rule days. I really liked the story Our Great Escape. It is about friendship and partition. It looks at the loss which is caused to Ruskin by the partition of the country. The Four Feathers shows how considerate even the school going boys are, though their over-enthusiasm to help others may cause some problems. I really liked Here Comes Mr Oliver. The story elaborates the relationship between the stern teacher and his equally stern pet very well. The Whistling Schoolboy brings the intrigue in the hills. Every hill station has its own set of ghost stories. No wonder some of them even find mention in these stories. I had read Remember this Day in another collection. This is a poignant tale of the last day which Ruskin spent with his father. The School among the pines is about the children in the hills who have to walk through leopard infested jungles to reach the school. It articulates the conflict surrounding Tehri Dam in a simple language which children can understand. While writing about the joy of reading books, Bond says reading was always a minority hobby. According to him more young people read books and even aspire to be writers in today's age. This was unheard of during his times. So he refutes the claim that the reading habit has dropped amongst the younger generation of today.

Ruskin bond is never outdated. He never disappoints. I really liked this book even though I found a mistake on page 71 in the following line, ‘If two people are thrown together for a long time, they can became either close friends or sworn enemies.’

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