Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto
Book – Em and the Big Hoom
Author – Jerry Pinto
Publisher – Aleph Book Company (1 January 2013)
Pages – 248 pages, Paperback
About the Book:
Set in Bombay during the last decades of the twentieth century, Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto tells the compelling story of the Mendeses mother, father, daughter and son in a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen in Mahim, Bombay, through the last decades of the twentieth century. Between Em, the beedi smoking, hyperactive mother, driven frequently to hospital by her mania and failed suicide attempts and the Big Hoom, the rock solid, dependable father, trying to hold things together as best he can, they are an extraordinary family.
I finished reading Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto couple of weeks back but never got around writing how I felt about it. I wasn’t able to write how it made me feel, to be honest. This book shook me from the inside, made me cry but yet made me feel like home. Em and the Big Hoom is all about family ties, relations and mental health.
“I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to deal with the world. It seemed too big and demanding and there wasn’t fixed syllabus.”
I have never read any book which speaks so boldly about this very topic. I have never been in any depressive state but the way everything in this book flows gave me a tinted idea about how horrible, delicate and scary mental diseases are and can be.
This book is a story of a small family of 4 living in a tiny flat in Bombay. The mother of the narrator, Em, is fighting and suffering from mental illness while the narrator’s father, The Big Hoom, is trying his best to hold his family tightly together as much as he could. The narrator and his sister are robbed from having a normal childhood but, can they even complain or cry about when their mother is suffering gravely with absolutely no control over her own life?
It took me by surprise how Pinto managed to write so originally & brilliantly about mental health, worldly matters, family relations, shame, mindset and the condition of a person fight depression, faith, religion and atheism in mere 250 pages. Needless to say, as I was reading the last few pages of this book, I was weeping in a void and rereading pages & paragraphs to let the words find a way through my skin. The characters in this book – the narrator, Susan (narrator’s sister, Em and the Big Hoom shall stay in my heart forever. I almost feel like I have left a part of me in that tiny flat in Bombay, in my city.
About the author:
Jerry Pinto began writing at the age of three. His first published work was Jerand’s Jovial Journal, in collaboration with his sister Andrea Pinto. This magnificent work of staggering genius, as it was described by the authors, has been lost to posterity. It is rumoured darkly, where dark rumours rumble, that Indiana Jones and Lara Croftare in a race to retrieve it.