Author: Debasmita Dasgupta
Illustrator: Debasmita Dasgupta
Publisher: Scholastic India
“Thirteen-year-old Nadya lives a happy, carefree life nurtured by the love of her parents and the home they have built together. But, one day, things start to fall apart, which eventually leads to her parents’ separation. Heartbroken and distraught, Nadya can’t believe that her father would leave her.
Follow Nadya’s journey as she grapples with the pain of loss and separation, before finally coming to terms and finding hope in this stunningly illustrated, deeply sensitive graphic novel.”
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‘Nadya’ is a story of a young girl’s tumultuous experience of her parent’s divorce, and how she deals with complex emotions such as love, loss and depression. The story is told in the first person, where we explore Nadya’s relationship with her parents and get to know more about the storm that ravages her life.
This is a graphic novel, where the story is told through poignant and beautifully drawn illustrations, which may be interpreted as symbolic. In the progress of the narrative, we observe a change in seasons – from spring to fall, to winter, and to spring again. The seasons are almost in sync with Nadya’s eventful life – spring denoting Nadya’s happy past and fall symbolising how Nadya is ‘fall’ing apart.
Nadya also encounters several animals on her journey. During her carefree, happier past, she plays with squirrels that embody her free spirit. Later in the story, the goldfish in a fishbowl echoes her trapped existence. Finally, the fawn with the broken leg seems to be in the same predicament as her – injured and hurt.
Yet another interesting aspect about this book is the fact that it is told primarily through pictures. Dialogues are few and far between and words are used with economy. However, this does not affect the plot at all, as the illustrations clearly convey messages through the character’s expressions. I would like to think that this is supposed to show the readers that actions speak louder than words.
All in all, this book combines cinematic illustrations, powerful characterisation, and a wholesome story to depict the predicament of children whose parents are divorced or have separated. I cannot really fault this book on anything, as I feel everything about it is perfect, and sensitively packaged to help and advice its readers to bravely face tragedies such as Nadya’s.