My Brother Tootoo
Urmila Mahajan
age group: 
12+ yrs
Number of pages: 
drug abuse
realistic fiction

A bold step by Mahajan to talk about a subject that is usually taboo in the world of children's fiction.

Twelve year old Rini and her brother, Tootoo are intrigued by a new boy on the block. With him, they venture into forbidden territories and wily nily get involved with drugs and drug dealers.  By the time they discover that those so-called nice and friendly people are actually vile and dangerous, Tootoo innocently gets hooked on to the drugs.  By the time their parents realise the truth much damage is done.

A story crafted story along the lines of an adventure, it succeeds in driving home the point of how easy it is to get addicted, and will also enable the child to recognize the withdrawal symptoms and of course, to understand the grim consequences of addiction.

Although it moves at a clipping pace, in some parts, however, the story somehow does not ring true.  One feels that in her mission to make kids aware of drug abuse the author somehow has missed out on the opportunity to have a truly gripping tale.

Nevertheless it is a much needed book and should reach the hands of as many kids as possible - before they too get trapped on to this path of no return.  Parents and teachers of pre-teens and teenagers should definitely encourage their kids to read this book and preferably have a frank and open discussion with them on the story.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee