When Advaita leaves Delhi for boarding school in Dehradun, she is lonely and unhappy. Even if Dunham Girls’ School is supposed to be the best in Asia. Even if, as her father had promised, it has a fabulous library. But the library soon becomes her haven, losing herself in books a shield against her deepening homesickness. Then one day she hears that the writer Ruskin Bond, whose books she devours, stays less than an hour away. Could it be true that the famous author is a real, living person, breathing the same Uttarakhand air as herself? Could she, Advaita, also become a writer? Advaita emerges out of her cocoon into a world fresh with ideas and inspiring possibilities. Unfolding gently and sensitively with the pace of Advaita’s changing emotions, this is a story about the love of books, the power of the imagination, of literary heroes, and of the birth of dreams.
Advaita the Writer is many stories rolled into one… A story of separation, of belonging, of space, of identity, of dreams, of inspiration… What keeps this delightfully unpredictable world of Advaita aloft is Spillman’s narrative. It flows like a happy river, meandering through difficult emotions and exciting metaphors with equal ease, as it runs its preordained course. Throughout the book, Spillman gently pushes the boundaries of language, never once compromising on the intelligence of the reader or taking it for granted. It’s a delicate balance that is rarely achieved in books for young readers. The illustrations by Menon too are spot on, hovering, almost respectfully, behind Advaita’s story. Read this book to be touched by not just the magic of Ruskin Bond, but also that of Spillman’s through lovely, whimsical Advaita. – Young India Books