Mayil Will Not be Quiet
Sowmya Rajendran
age group: 
9+ yrs
Number of pages: 
girl child value education self esteem
picture book, realistic fiction


We meet 12 year old Mayil – spunky, outspoken and totally endearing – through the pages of her journal. In it, she records her thoughts, her confusion about growing up, and also her ‘stories’.
The anecdotes about her family and friends are narrated with the delightful insights and cheeky asides that characterize Mayil’s take on everything around her. Be it her best friend Ki (short for Krishna), or, the new entrant to the ‘gang’ Jyothy (who’s pushing ‘sashays’ of Fair and Lovely cream on Mayil), the boys in their class or the teachers; Mayil’s voice is fresh and the narration is laugh-out-loud funny at times.
The situations in school --the projects, competitions, exams, ‘gangs’ in class, friendships, crushes -- are very identifiable and ring uncannily true. And since Mayil will not be Quiet, we hear her views on everything.
The authors, Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran, use Mayil’s disarmingly frank first person view to paint vivid pictures of the characters and they excel in their rendering of Mayil’s family. There’s younger brother Thamarai, Mayil’s “annoyer”. There’s Amma, who make a mean Egg Curry, stands up for Mayil and reads to her from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. There’s Appa who laughs loudly at his own obscure jokes causing Mayil to comment that, “Cuckoodom has happened to Appa”. Thatha, one of the most delightful characters, shows his feet of clay in an incident where he makes racist comment unthinkingly.
The authors have also managed to touch upon several important issues but do it deftly and unobtrusively through the characters and the situations. Brother Thamarai prefers dancing to Karate. Thatha and Appa take turns cooking for the family when Appa loses his job and Amma takes up one. Gender stereotyping, the abuse of women, and prejudice about race and colour appear very naturally as part of the narrative.
The illustrations in the book are Mayil’s own and add a quirky touch to this sensitive and funny coming-of-age story.
Meant mainly for pre-teens, the book can be also be enjoyed by children as young as 9 or 10.

Reviewed by Mariam Karim-Ahlawat


‘Mayil will not be quiet’, is a very popular book amongst tweens written by two of the the most prominent authors ‘Niveditha Subramanium’ and ‘Sowmya Rajendran’. This book is about a 12 year old, South Indian girl Mayil, who is one most talkative girls anyone could think of. Due to this habit of hers, her father also ‘Appa’ for South Indians bought her a diary so that she could pen down her never ending thoughts in it and give their ears some much needed rest. So here the adventure begins, when Mayil is penning down her thoughts in her first diary she ever got. Mayil writes her numerous instances like when:
She was going by train to one of her peer, Chikki’s house when she sees a Eunuch sitting next to an empty seat. She was worn out and thus wanted to go and sit on the empty seat but her father grabbed her hand and told her not to go. In Chennai i.e. the place she lives in Eunuch are known to take money from you forcibly. So from this instance she learned that Eunuch’s take money from you forcibly.
Or like in this book she is also comparing herself to Mahatma Gandhi and says if Gandhiji was to write a diary. He would only pen down the very important things whereas she wrote all the happenings in her diary. Unlike Mayil he would also save every scrap of paper and not want to waste ink.
Another scenario described in the book is when Mayil was chosen as one of the star champ along with two of other classmates VS and Susan. In this competition the chosen people have to make and present something inventive. Mayil came up with a game called Paati on the wheels. This game has two levels.
One of the most sorrowful experience was when Mayils appa (father) lost his job so her mother had to work. Her mother worked as an English teacher in some fancy American school. So Amma (mother) had to leave early in the morning and come very late at night. Infact Mayil and her Brother, Thamarai didn’t even see their Amma when they woke up and they found it very awkward.
I really like this book because I find many of these diary entries to be sometimes Sad, at times frightening and at times funny. I can identify through lot of her instances because I think all of us go through that stage in life.

Rishika Singhal

“Appa gave me this notebook saying I should write every single day. He said that I could talk non- stop in it and give everyone's ears a rest! In this book I'm going to write about everything I think of and nobody's going to ask me to keep quiet.”

Ever asked your teacher why King Dasharatha didn't want a daughter? Ever punched a boy in the face? Ever had an annoying little brother steal your doll? Well, Mayil has!

Take a peek into Mayil Ganeshan's ordinary but not- so- ordinary life. She paints a vivid and delightful painting of her family, and transports us into the world of a young pre- teen girl with all the complexes and problems that we have while growing up. The way she describes her grandfather's love for her grandmother, is truly touching. Her relationship with her brother perfectly sums up sibling rivalry, with a touch of love. Her mother's character is a very understanding one, perfected with wonderful parenting skills- the way she understands just what Mayil is feeling, and gives her her own space just when she needs it.

Crushes, disappointments and friendship problems- this book is an all in one. Everything from Mayil's random thoughts about the boy she likes to the incidents that disturb or upset her are in here. Family issues, such as her father losing his job, and friendship issues, such as breaking friendship with her best friend, are all a part of Mayil's life. She describes her complexes about not looking pretty enough and not having nice hair. She does things like sneaking for a movie without telling her parents, trying on some Fair and Lovely cream, taking french lessons and making her very own game. This book is a perfect bundle of emotions that a pre-teen/ teenager might experience.

More than anything, this diary is a step towards her becoming 'Mayilwriter' and completing all the stories she never never managed to finish. She jots down some of her stories in her diary, and her imagination is wonderful. It makes you want to fly away with her into a land where the first people on earth were called 'Maaa' and 'Baaa', and God is a giant chicken who lays eggs everywhere!

Mayil's entries are truly hilarious and the drawing that top them them off just make me want to laugh more! The way she titles her entries! From 'Ma Rocks my Socks' to 'Marshmallows and MSG', they were all great. Plus, the double and single underlining to emphasize on the words, and the mention of 'Bama Vijayam' and 'Nilambhari' make it so authentic that you can perfectly imagine being Mayil. Hilarious sentences and amazing illustrations, make it a great read. So, open the book and listen to Mayil, for now she will not keep quiet!

Shreya Punjabi
7- C