Howzzat Butterfingers: A Review
The book, intended originally for children, appeals to all cross sections with its universal theme | By Hari Shanker
On Aug 18, 2010


It’s not easy for an author to connect seamlessly with his/her readers. He/she would have to face a plethora of hurdles to bridge the connectivity gap: the theme should be universal, the language should be simple, the reader should be able to visualise the story with ease.

Khyrunnisa A has struck the right chord with her book Howzzat Butterfingers.

The book, intended originally for children, appeals to all cross sections with its universal theme -- cricket; the sport that has evolved into the proportions of a religion in our country. Children are familiar with the tales of Butterfingers a.k.a. Amar Kishen, a regular comic strip in the children’s magazine ‘Tinkle’ since 2006.

As his nickname suggests, Amar is habitually clumsy with a penchant for dropping objects, from books to people (even elephants, as his friend Kishore remarks). An ardent cricket buff, he’s appointed the vice captain of the school cricket team. ‘It’s a matter of pride’ for the team to win the Colonel Nandkarni Under 15 Interschool  Limited Overs Cricket Trophy. But the task is far from easy. The team captain suddenly turns 15, the star all-rounder suffers an arm injury and the school may even lose its playground. The onus is on a bumbling Amar to lead his team to victory -- but he too has to face his demons of clumsiness which haunts him every now and then. How he tries to lead his team to victory forms the crux of the story.  

‘Butterfingers’ stands out with its simple-elegance. The story is simple and uncomplicated. It takes one back to his/her school days. Every minor facet of the story is explained with concise descriptions. Khyrunnisa has in fact measured her words to the right amount making no compromise on quality. Her style bears resemblance to English authors of the sixties -- a welcome relief from the new-age jargon of modern authors. Tongue-in-cheek humour has also been weaved into the plot, adding an endearing quality to it.

Khyrunnisa has brought out her characters (about 15 of them) impeccably. All lead characters are inspired by the author’s friends, and her son -- whose names have also been adapted for the book. This makes the characters sound real -- to the extent that one can actually visualise them.

The highlight of the book is cricket. Conciseness is Khyrunnisa’s forte, and one gets to see it in action, during descriptions of the interschool cricket matches. All matches are described in great detail - using the least number of words. A reader gets the feel of watching the match live; the excitement is palpable and infectious.

howzzat butterfingers review yentha

However, the book is not without flaws, albeit minute. At the end of the day, it is a book meant for children, and not all readers would be equally enamored by it. Besides, like all simple stories, the ‘happy ending’ is predictable. At 166 pages, the book is too short, and makes the reader yearn for more.

Nevertheless, the book is worth a read. At Rs 199, it’s cheap and worth every penny. It’s entirely endearing, and won’t take a lot of your time either.

Strongly recommended.

Yentha rating: 8/10
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