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Reviewed by Jan Crewe for Readers' Favorite
The Effort by Santonu Kumar Dhar is a captivating story of a little boy from Calcutta, India, who faced the difficult task of caring for his sick father just years after his mother's death. Written in the first person, The Effort is very descriptive, allowing the reader to explore the mind of the young child, Apu. Apu is very smart and curious with the belief that he is supposed to care for his father...and he did. He sacrificed and struggled to give his father a life that his father could not give Apu. The journey mapped out in this book was astoundingly realistic and unrealistic at the same time.
I loved this book. It was well written. The author was very thoughtful and careful to make implications using the adults around Apu rather than revealing information that Apu wouldn't know at his age. I liked that we were able to see the childhood issues that he had, as well as the adult ones and his struggle to comprehend them. He was clearly a smart boy, but his conversation was that of a nine-year-old. This book could easily be used in a middle school classroom as well as a high school classroom with the many themes and the depth of the book. I was personally invested in the protagonist, crying when he cried, laughing when he laughed, and getting angry when he did. I was able to feel his fear and understand his pain. The descriptions really made this book amazing, reminding me of Jhumpa Lahiri's work. I look forward to reading more from this author.