I was taken aback by the directness of the title of the book, #Iam16ICanRape, To be honest I had very little expectation from the book when I started reading, Little did I know, it would be the book that would turn my life upside down for the next four days after I picked it up. I couldn’t believe I was reading, what I was reading. It took me a while to get used to the characters, to get a grip of the plot, to understand the layers the writer has provided. It is not a story, it is a journey. It is a journey of the reader into the psyche of a Rapist.
I must take a moment to applaud for the author, for picking a subject so sensitive and of outmost social importance. It takes guts to write a book like this and Kirtida Gautam excels in many ways. Her choice of language is eloquent, filled with psychological terms showing extensive research and very hard-hitting. The book is written from the view point of all the characters; Kirtida uses their voices to tell us the same story from different viewpoints. There are a lot of explicit sequences of rape and violence, and Kirtida Gautam handles them with care and sensitivity. You can sense the author’s anger oozing out through the pages of the book, you can feel her breathing through them, telling us, it is high time to change the laws, to change ourselves. Enough is Enough!
Aarush Kashyap, the 16 year old juvenile, accused of Rape is at the centre of the novel, I cannot call him the protagonist for the obvious reasons, but he is the one who will test your ability to sustain through the book. There will be moments, when you will feel, I can’t go through this experience it is heart wrenching, it is harrowing and I want to quit reading, but don’t. If you finish this book, I promise something will change inside you, the way you perceive the world, our society, the value of women, the men-women equation, it will change YOU.
Rudransh Kashyap is another pivotal character in the book, who will work his way to your heart, the character of Pihu is endearing, Shubhangi- the survivor is incredibly well drawn, Ananya, Gayatri, Meghna, Mrigank, all characters are sketched out well. Kirtida has given us many females characters in this book who are strong and magnificent in their own right, not many books gives their female characters such liberty and clarity.
It is one of those books which you can’t take frivolously; it is not an easy read. You need commitment, towards your society, towards your author and most importantly towards yourself to finish this book. The length of the book is longer than usual, and the use of a lot of psychological terms and explanations can be a bit too heavy for readers who are looking for a light read.
It is hard to believe that this is Kirtida’s first book, she shows maturity of language and plot structure. Her extensive use of psychological jargons and analogy is from the fact that she is a Post-graduate of Clinical Psychology herself teamed with a screenplay writing course which she did from FTII, Pune. She has written for shows like Jodha Akbar for Zee TV. She is an author to llok out for in the near future, I see sincerity and great promise in her work.
This book is available only as a Kindle Edition and you can get it from Amazon.
I will label this book as a MUST READ for all, especially parents. So what are you waiting for? ……. GO, BUY, READ, NOW!!!!!!