I have a special attachment to this book because Ruskin Bond himself signed it for me. It has everything Ruskin stands for and more.
It's a story for young adults. The protagonist Rusty is a teen Anglo- Indian. There is a lot of adventure and coming-of-age stuff in the book. Ruskin's trademark humour doesn't leave him for one bit in the book. It makes the book much more than a delight. It's a gift you can give to a confused teen soul.
The innocent crush that Rusty has on Meena is the highlight ot the novel for me. If only our crushes were this kind to us!
The friendship that Rusty shares with Somi and Ranbir is also something remarkable. It reminds us to remain human and form bonds whenever possible because it's the best thing humans do.
The rebellious streak shown by Rusty makes one feel that Ruskin
must've kept his stepdad in mind while writing the character of the guardian. There is anger, there is triumph, there is everything in this small little book.
Ruskin also nails it with the descriptions of nature in his smalp little book. It has hints of the awesome writer. he is going to become later when he begins to describe the trees, the squirrels and the flowing river streams.
The part where Suri throws a going away party and everyone is happy to see him leave is painted pretty funnily. The bazaar and the chaat shop in Dehradun also find vivid descriptions in the novel.
The novel switches gears from misery to gaeity to tragedy to joy abruptly, much like life itself.
All in all, a lovable book.