I have always been a sucker for anything funny. And I always feel there just way too few funny books in India, especially when it comes to books for young adults.
Jobless Clueless Reckless was magical for me because it was just so funny. There are certain passages which made me laugh hysterically even when I was reading them for the fifth time when matching proof corrections. The characters and the voices were so real and so funny that it took a while for it to sink in that the book was talking about quite serious things, and that Kavya is not exactly the sunniest, happiest girl in the world.
I have seldom read so assured, consistent (and funny) a voice in a manuscript. There were two shocks when in the fullness of time we found out more about Revathi: a. that this was her first novel and b. that she was not actually a teenager (albeit one who had enormous assurance and elegance when it came to language).
And while Kavya is a teenager and many of her problems are teenage ones, there is a agelessness about the book, so I think I am going to present it to lots of women I know who are not particularly interested in children’s books but who I am sure will love this one.
The day I got the manuscript of Jobless Clueless Reckless to read, I sat up and finished it without a pause. It was such a happy surprise to find an unsolicited submission that read like a completed book already! I was really excited. Here was a book that had a unique and authentic voice, with a story that had all the chicklit elements that would appeal to young people and yet, with layers and complexity enough to satisfy a literary reader. The characters were fully formed, there were interesting twists in the plot; and most importantly, spadefuls of humour. And we had no idea who the writer was. You have to be a publisher drowning in slush to understand the thrill of such a discovery. Now that the book is almost out, I feel a surge of anxiety. Not about whether the book is good enough but about whether it will get the attention and the wide readership it deserves. I really, really hope all the jobless, clueless, reckless people in the world will pick up this book–it’s a gem.