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BookBrowse Reviews Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

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Em and the Big Hoom

by Jerry Pinto

Em and the Big Hoom
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    Jun 2014, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Featuring richly drawn characters, this engaging tale evaluates the effects of mental illness on families.

Jerry Pinto's debut novel, Em and the Big Hoom, is the story of a Mumbai family trying to cope with their matriarch's bipolar disorder and the impact it has on those around her.

As the book opens we discover that Imelda Mendes ("Em") is, in her words, "mad," has attempted suicide for a third time, and the unnamed narrator, her teen son, is holding conversations with her, trying to take her back in time to discover when exactly her bipolar symptoms began to manifest themselves. Surely, he thinks, there must have been signs; there had to have been a trigger that caused her to begin acting out. He goes through her letters, asks for recollections from his older sister Susan and father Augustine (the eponymous Big Hoom, although no one remembers how he got this nickname), and talks to doctors. The son's search doesn't provide answers but along the way he develops an ...

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Beyond the Book:
  Bipolar Disorder

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