Title – My Name is Cinnamon
Author – Vikas Prakash Joshi
Type – Fiction / Children-YA
Reading Prompt – #14 – Sends you down a rabbit hole
I received a request from author Vikas Prakash Joshi to review his debut novella titled My Name is Cinnamon. However, this will not affect my unbiased opinion of the book.
The protagonist of the story is thirteen-year-old Roshan Rishikesh Paranjape, nicknamed Cinnamon. He is the adopted son of a Maharashtrian-Bengali couple. While he knows the truth and has come to terms with it, he is keen to discover his roots. Does Cinnamon meet his tummy-mummy? Is his journey fruitful? To find out, read the book.
With less than 200 pages, the novella is an easy read. The author has superb command of the language and has laced the narrative with simple yet relatable incidents from Cinnamon’s childhood. As someone who slunk away from digits and equations, I could relate to the protagonist’s aversion towards mathematics.
He (Cinnamon) also hated Raman, who took a loan of Rs 9768 and forgot to work out the annual interest of 9 per cent per year or the 22 fishermen of Nagercoil who deposited money in accounts and couldn’t calculate what the total amount was.
The instances where Cinnamon dreams of captaining the Indian football team to victory against Brazil or celebrities retweeting his disappearance bring out the innocence of childhood, unsullied by ambitions. My heart went out to Cinnamon.
That doesn’t imply that the book is devoid of flaws. There are too many chapters dedicated to food. While the readers experience ‘foodgasm’ at the mention of so many delectable items like kosha mangsho, pork pau, dhapate & nistyachi chutney, it tends to go overboard and does nothing to propel the narrative forward. The incident of Cinnamon’s midnight refrigerator raids and the subsequent upset tummy seemed forced additions as if to add to the page count.
The ending is a tad abrupt, and I would have liked to know what happened with Cinnamon. I respect the author’s prerogative for keeping Usher’s syndrome in the background, but it could have made the readers more empathetic towards Cinnamon.
But these aberrations do not mar the joy of reading. I hope the author takes this with the right spirit.
There’s no doubt that Vikas Prakash Joshi has hit a six off the first ball with My Name is Cinnamon. It’s a feel-good book, yet it has a calm maturity. With an adorable protagonist, the author has woven a fabulous story to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. I recommend this book to you.