Sunday, 3 July 2016

Chalkline - Jane Mitchell


This is the story of Rafiq's transformation from child to boy soldier, as he is indoctrinated into the cause of fanatical belief. But his family have not forgotten him - when he can no longer recognize himself, they remember the boy he was, and reach out a hand of redemption as he spirals towards a final act of atrocity.

Rafiq is only nine when Kashmiri Freedom Fighters raid his village in search of new recruits. Tall for his age, he is the first boy to cross the chalk line into a life of brutality and violence.

Jameela cannot forget her brother. While Rafiq is trained to kill in the rebel camp high in the mountains, she keeps his memory alive.


When finally their paths cross again, Rafiq is unrecognisable as the boy who left the village. Will Jameela know him?

Review:

Ever since my childhood, I have always wondered what is going on up north in Kashmir. I come from a town in south India and I used to find newspaper articles and clippings about the fights going on up in Kashmir, the northern border of India. I've always wondered how people managed to live in such high tension places while it was calm and peaceful down south. This book is a real eye-opener on the conditions and the type of life people lead in the beautiful and gorgeous Kashmir.

Rafiq is a 9-year old boy living with his family in one of the vilages in Kashmir valley. One fine morning, he is abducted by people who claim to be Kashmiri freedom fighters. He is cruelly separated from his family and is made to undergo rigorous training. Rafiq is brainwashed by the militants and is made to believe that the war they fight is a holy war fought for the liberation of Kashmiri people from the tyranny of India.

The hardships Rafiq undergo and the way the boy's mind is tuned to make him believe in what he is doing makes the readers sad. To think that everyday, many such boys are kidnapped and made to fight the war makes the reader's blood boil. This is a good read that exposes a part of the dark secrets that the valley of Kashmir holds.

A must-read for all people. The author has done a great job in making sure that she stays true to the plot and also in bringing out the necessary emotions from the readers. This is one book that will haunt you for a long time.

About the author:
Jane Mitchell

Jane Mitchell was born in England, but she moved to Ireland later on, where she studied in Trinity College, Dublin, and taught elementary school children for a while before working in the community with at-risk teenagers who had dropped out of formal education. 

She has also worked with young adults with disabilities.

Find more about the book here.
Buy the book here.
Read more book reviews here.

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