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Mirror Mirror By Andaleeb Wajid

What the mirror reflects is important for any young adult. Mirror Mirror By Andaleeb Wajid (Duckbill) takes us through the life of a young girl, plagued by inner doubts about her physical appearance. The book starts off with a milestone- the day she turns 17.  She is excitedly looking forward to the celebrations planned for her. While at lunch with her two best friends Nisha and Anirudh she is taken by surprise when they announce that they like each other and have just started dating. She is happy for Nisha but is scared that this may bring a shift in their relations. At dinner with her mother and father at a restaurant she is dumbstruck when her mother blurts out that she is pregnant. Pregnant at 43! Is that even possible?

She finds it hard to digest that she will have a sibling after 17 years. She is not one bit happy about it. Her mother Chitra has been told to take complete rest. Hence her best friend from college Aunt Vidya/V will come to help out till the baby is born. Ananya is very happy since Aunt V is a laugh riot and friendly. But when Ananya learns that Raghu, Aunt V’s eighteen years old son is also coming, she is unsure. Till 5 years ago Raghu was Ananya’s best friend. Whenever he visited with his mother from Mumbai to Bangalore they spent a lot of time together. But an unfortunate incident brings about a change in their friendship. Esha a pretty girl in her old building makes mean hurtful comments on Ananya’s weight that leaves her bitterly scarred. To be called, ‘Fat Ananya, Miss. Piggy, ugly cow’ is demeaning. But, in front of Raghu it was embarrassing. Ananya knows she loved to eat and was healthy, but all these vile comments brought down her self- esteem. She stops all contact with Raghu for not standing up for her. 

                              

From there starts Ananya’s painful journey to change herself, starving herself trying to be thin. After all these years she now calls herself ‘A work in progress’ working out with yoga, walks and healthy eating. But Raghu’s arrival after all these years brings about new feelings within her. Will they be able to clear all the misunderstandings? Will a new friendship start? Ananya also finds herself drawn to Raghu. Will she do something about it or is it one sided? The next 9 months will bring about many changes in Ananya’s young life, what with her mother’s ups and downs in pregnancy to Raghu and her blossoming growing relationship. To building up her confidence and accepting herself just as she is with Nisha and Aunt V’s support.

Mirror Mirror clearly finds a place in strong and meaningful literature for young adults. This is a book that will resonate with this readership. Readers will find it relevant to the times they are living in. It will speak directly to their concerns.

Today when you open the magazines, or Insta and You tube on social media we come across adverts and images where the said model or influencer has a fair complexion, is thin and tall sending a wrong message to teens and their peers. Youngsters believe that this is the way to be to be accepted and get easily influenced by the images. Many a times we let ourselves be influenced by what others think of us and loose our step along the way. 

Mocking and teasing with verbal derogatory snide comments can play an adverse effect on the victim. Body shaming an individual for being fat or too thin, too tall or short and putting labels with stray mean words that are demeaning and hurtful. Many a time the sufferers do not share their problems with anyone for fear of ridicule. They suffer from a loss of low self-esteem and end up hating themselves and their bodies. They fight an inner turmoil where they feel they are inadequate and lacking. Emotionally hurt and humiliated they close up. But the victims need to know there is help, they can get support from parents, a friend, a teacher or a counsellor.                                                               

Mirror Mirror, Andaleeb Wajid’s book is a coming- of age young romance and accepting yourself for who you are. After all, the mirror says the beautiful truth. Accept and love yourself and don’t change for others. Through Ananya’s story Andaleeb has interwoven many a story of young girls who face similar situations like hers. A must-read for teens and young adults.

Poyani Mehta

Poyani Mehta is a former School Librarian, a freelance storyteller, performs in theatre for children for the Secret Passages Storytelling Circle. She writes Book Reviews for www.Bookedforlife.in, an online literary portal, and is a team member of PeekABook Children Literary Festival. She writes travelogues and articles on various topics. She loves spending time with animals, is passionate about books, music, baking and dips, rescues injured birds and enjoys spending quality time with her young daughter and Shanti, her indie pariah dog.

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