Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Book Review: Innocence Lost – Stories of Child Abuse by Gargi Publishers


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Book Name: Innocence Lost – Stories of Child Abuse (Crumpled Voices 2)

Contributing Authors: Naisargi Bhatt, Pramit Sarkar, Aditi Sahu, Supriya Parulekar, Sunanda Bhadra, Swathi Shenoy, Nikita Nepali, Dr. Sunil Kaushal , Piyush Kaviraj, Brinda Tailor, Shreya Ganguly, Vaisakh E Hari, Leena Ratti, Shikha Kaul, Dr. Lopamudra Maitra, Ummul Fazal Fatima Khan and Tanya Shrivastava.

Publisher: Gargi Publishers

Price: Rs. 160

My Take:

Eighteen by Naisargi Bhatt
‘Eighteen’ is a poem that describes the life of a girl. The girl is eighteen years old and recounts to the reader the tale of her life. Very expressive!

Pang of History by Pramit Sarkar
The story section of Crumpled Voices 2 opens with a bang with Pramit’s story. Every individual born on this earth is unique in his own ways. Parents often forget it and compare their child’s ability with others. This shouldn’t be done. What effect does it have on the child. Read Pang of History! This has become my favourite!

The Lost and Found Self-Respect by Aditi Sahu
This story touched my heart. Avantika was sexually abused when she was 4 year old. She tries to forget it as a bad dream and tries to move on with her life. Does this incident haunt her present? What will she do- share it with her husband or keep quiet like she did years ago? The narration of this story has been done very well. A good read!

The White Lily by Supriya Parulekar
Another story of child abuse! Lust is the evil disease which once contracted can never be cured. Rose’s husband, James is one of those monsters who abuses young girls in order to satisfy his thirst. He tricks them in to his stories about monsters and plays with their young, innocent minds. His current target is Melody. Does she escape from his lusty intentions? The narration is perfect. Dialogues are crafted well. The poem in the beginning of the story is like a cherry on the cake. Awesome read!

A Cry- Help Me! By Sunanda Bhadra
Child marriage is a social evil and it really hurts to know that it is still prevalent in many rural areas of our country. A Cry- Help Me! Talks about this evil custom and the way a girl’s life is devasted after falling prey to it. Overall, an average read!

The Lost Dreams by Swathi Shenoy
“You are a gril. You shouldn’t go out late at night.”
“You are a girl. Behave like one! Have you seen your clothes?”
Most of the girls face these talks from our elders. This story is of that kind. Riya isn’t allowed to participate in the national level match by her grandparents. Does her mother support her or does she keep mum like always? The narration is done very well. The flow of the story is also good. It is the end which stole my heart. An awesome read!

Live like a fairy! By Nikita Nepali
The story did not fit well in the theme – this is what I feel. However, the story gives a wonderful message. ‘One should take lessons from life and keep moving’.

The Shadow by Dr. Sunil Kaushal
Rape is a heinous crime. This story is about Soma, a girl who was raped in her childhood. She was forced in to marriage in order to avoid the society talks. Has she recovered from the mental torture that the incident caused to her? What does she do when she encounters the same beast again? The narration is awesome. The poetry at the start of the story is very touching. An excellent read!

The Guinea Pig by Piyush Kaviraj
‘Breast Cancer’ stories have always touched me. And so does this story. The protagonist is kidnapped by few soldiers and is brought to a laboratory where experiments are conducted. Being a young girl, the protagonist did not know what the evil minds intend to do to her. She gives in and after two months of suffering and dizziness, she finds herself in a hospital. What had happened to her? Why was she admitted? Who had rescued her? I just have one word for this story- incredible. The plot, the flow of events and the way of expressing the emotions is simply wow!

The Unheard Cry by Brinda Tailor
Most of the Indian parents confine their thoughts to only engineering and medicine as the ultimate career option. They fail to recognise the talents of their child and force them in to engineering or medicine. This story is sure to bring a change on the minds of parents.

The Loud Silence by Shreya Ganguly
 ‘Can a prostitute be raped?’- this is the center of this story. The question seems absurd. Isn’t it? Read Naina’s story and find out the answer to the above question. The story was overall a good read!

Tales from a pit deep down by Vaisakh E Hari
This story made me think! I cannot say anything about this one. I must say I liked reading it.

A Tryst with Naaz by Leena Ratti
Can your family behave badly with you, ill-treat you? This question arised in my mind as I started reading this story. My doubts were cleared at the end. Again, good narration! Average read!

Just a lucky day or not by Shikha Kaul
Shikha Ma’am has amazed me with ‘Hidden Husband’ and with this story too! The story begins with the girl waiting for her mum outside school. I silently prayed in my mind about her safety. But no! She is kidnapped. The surprising part of this story lies in its end. The story is amazing!

Lesson Learned by Dr. Lopamudra Maitra
Female foeticide is a crime. I am astonished to see that sex determination still exists in this modern era of technology and science. Mala’s foetus is that of a girl child. Her in-laws and husband are forcing her to get her baby aborted. Does she do it? An overall good read!

Left to be estranged by Ummul Fazal Fatima Khan
Parents and children should give each other some space. They must respect each other’s decisions and thoughts. They should be more like friends. This story primarily focuses on current parent-child relationship. A must read for parents!

That shade of vermilion by Tanya Shrivastava
What started with a bang, ended up in one! The story is about Ashwin Rathod and his failure as a son and as a husband. Ashwin is so blind with his career and success that he doesn’t realise that he has left his wife Aastha in the jaws of death. What happens to Aastha is inexplicable. An awesome story!

Innocence Lost –Stories of child abuse is a thought provoking anthology. The stories have been carefully chosen and compiled. All the stories focus on different issues which makes this anthology unique. The stories have been edited well.

My personal favorites are Pang of History by Pramit sarkar, The White Lily by Supriya Parulekar, The Shadow by Dr. Sunil Kaushal, The Guinea Pig by Piyush Kaviraj, Just a lucky day or not by Shikha Kaul and That shade of vermilion by Tanya Shrivastava.

I rate:
Cover: 4/5
Stories: 4/5

My overall rating for this anthology is 4/5 stars.

You can order your copies here!


  1. Hi Divya Bandodkar,
    Thank you so much for your excellent review of the anthology 'Innocence Lost' and your kind words for my story 'The Shadow.'

  2. Dear Divya
    Thank you for the great review... Your appreciation inspires me to write even better. God bless you!
    ... piyush kaviraj