Monday, June 28, 2021

The Soul Crafter by Barry Cheema (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!


23rd Book of 2021


Reading any book by a debutante author is a hard adventure you chose- because you might enjoy it completely or you can end up wasting your hours in the work that didn’t provide any excitement to you. I remember reading Barry Cheema’s 1st book in August 2019 named “Your Destination Has Arrived”. The book’s 2nd half just blew away my mind and kept hitting me in such a way that it broke down many factors about my own life and transformed me a lot. I was so surprised by author’s work and its impact upon me that I gave it 4.75* out of 5 – the kind of rating I rarely give until and unless I don’t find it unique. Now, after 2 years, author has come up with his 2nd book which is basically the Prequel to his 1st book. “The Soul Crafter” is of around 240 pages and brings back our favorite character from the 1st book – Pinky Singh and he is again working on an agenda of transforming a wicked character in the story.


The foundation of the story is crafted very nicely within few chapters itself and the teachings of Pinky Singh begins immediately – initially to a character and later to the whole school where all the teachers, students and lastly, parents also get an opportunity to hear what he wants to say about life, happiness, expectations, desires, money, richness etc. The book talks about non-fictional elements through a fiction story very nicely as it keeps you engrossed all along with several reactions that keeps coming in from the audience whenever the magician begins his show and starts delivering the lessons, he believes will transform the lives of all the children studying there.


The character of Victoria is very nicely portrayed as you can understand her personality issues very clearly. The way her hatred changes into adoration for Pinky Singh is another good gesture in the story. The reflection to what happened with Koel in the same school and her relationship with her father is also executed properly by taking us into the flashback and relating it with the current scenario. Author also tried adding several other elements to the story such as romance etc. but couldn’t spend much time on it as it would have worked as interruptions to the flow with which the consecutive transformational shows of the magician were happening.


There are superficial elements to the story which I believe, can be accepted by the readers who are just focusing on the messages and insights the character of magician is providing or else, if you will read this book just as a fiction story, it might turn you off. Hence, please do keep your reader’s approach decided before picking this book up. Barry, basically, talks about the issues our nation has in terms of both- education and parenting. How bad education and parenting are not only spoiling the life of the children but even their personality and soul - is very nicely portrayed here. Author gives several perspectives as to how we have been conditioned in a certain way which makes us train the next generation also with the same issues which is just multiplying the concern quotient but not helping the new kids a bit.


Author gives very fruitful insight about how competition and ambition are introduced as a negative thing by parents to their children which makes them anxious and pressurized thinking about their failure if they are not being able to achieve it. The character of magician on whose name the title of the book is kept further talks about how we take our children on a guilt ride which keeps affecting their potentials and mindset. We are also told about the problems we give our children by specifying a kind of role model they should follow whereas they can independently decide as per their potentials and interest where and how they wish to go.


The book also features how committing a mistake is seen as a blunder which pushes child’s morale so down that they feel being successful is defined by how you end up making no mistakes or failure in life – which leads them in losing themselves after making just the first mistake of their life. I liked how the difference between intelligence – intellect, Active Interference – Negative Interference is discussed which are deeply impacting the quality of life our children are living. I really appreciated a very good example of Dr. Daniel Moritz where people got influenced by his nasty philosophies that the next generation developed Adolf Hitler who was exactly the replica of Moritz’s formulas. Author tries opening everyone’s eyes with this example on how we don’t understand the complexities with which we pressurize our child to fulfil our dreams or lead their life in the way we want them to.


Now talking about the drawbacks about the book, I must say that in comparison to what happens under the umbrella of Pinky Singh in the 1st book, this story and plot feels very light and general with not many unique insights. This book speaks about general issues which we already read in newspapers, articles or hear from social media influencers and journalists. I was looking forward to something very special from Barry Cheema which I found missing in the book. Secondly, as I mentioned, there are few elements author wants to touch but doesn’t which feels very incomplete. For e.g. the chemistry development between Pinky and Gurinder. Thirdly, the conversations, reactions and replies between/from audience during the talks by magician were really framed like it happens in a typical Bollywood movie. They sounded irritating. Lastly, author mentions that he would write the same story again from different characters’ perspective in his next books. I would like to request him to move on from this story now as it can’t do much magic now and will sound repetitive. It’s better to utilize Pinky Singh in a completely different plot with the same depth his philosophies had in the 1st book.


Overall, this will be a very good book for parents and teachers who are dying to mould the child in the way they want them to behave which is very annoying, dangerous, and depreciative. I give this one 3.5* out of 5. Not that this book is not interesting or insightful, but I would be waiting for Barry to write something on par with “Your Destination Has Arrived” in his next work.







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