Reviews

Decoded by Sheeba Sojanar: Unveils the Chaos of Family Bonding in the Light of Autism

Want to read a fictional novel about autistic people that have difficulty in communications and their families are torn apart because of their inability to form a straight bond with one another?

Read this – Decoded by Sheeba Sojanar. In her family she witnessed the autism person but instead of turning faces and labeling, she opted to care for them and fight with a clear stance for their care and social justice. This fine debut novel is inspired by her own life’s experience while raising an autistic child at home.

The story has tinges of anger against the social strata of our world. Still you will feel that this novel is inspiring and thought-provoking. This at large will try to assuage the pain of families affected by autism. The families don’t need to raise a conflict but they would better learn to decode sensory indications, communicative signals, and unspoken needs of autistic people.

Decoded follows the story of Vidhuna and other auxiliary characters that she came across while her living on earth. She came from some different planet, which was scientifically advanced unlike earth had no need of communication. She travels back in time of 2016 to earth. That is a new journey for her. On earth, she understands nothing. As the story settles and moves ahead with its optimum pace, Vidhuna connects with an autistic boy Revanth. Due to his autism, his family of Manju and Ranjan is divided and on the verge of break down. The sole reason is Revanth’s autism but that is just a guise, in fact his father is a vile man with some other pretensions.

Vidhuna picks up the signals of Revanth and in return the boy helps her understanding the mechanism of the world. For Vidhuna, the earth is a new world where she has to learn a lot of things. The story narrates in a refreshing and sometimes hilarious way about different situations autistic people encounter in daily life. She fights for Revanth, to place him rationally among school and family and other places.

The novel runs deep in the veins of non-autistic people, they can be helpful to their immediate suffering people. As a matter of fact, the sub stories of non-autistic people exceed the share of special children like Vidhuna and Revanth. Vidhuna has special ability of noticing things by picking up thought wavelength of others. She decodes hidden messages. She detected Theo was having an affair with some woman while caring for her dying wife Rose.

“She was drawn into the drama of Revanth’s family and, in a way, into the drama between Rose and Theo, too. I just have to learn my lessons and move back. This time period might sap out my energy,’ she thought and fell asleep with a heavy heart.”

The novel raises questions about family bonding through thick and thin. Vidhuna was shocked to find that on earth people were finding reasons to break away from families. The family melodrama was so tumultuous and negative that Vidhuna was keen on returning to her planet sooner than later.

Decoded is a serious heavy novel, yet it will have you laughing, crying, and everything in between. Sheeba weaved the story in a different way, right from the cover page to ending line. The prose is clear, narrative is swirled around among many characters and some of them grow and a few die, the timeline of the story was gullible. The variety of the characters was intrigued – they were marked by chaos and deterioration, but they may be sketched in your memory forever.

TitleDecoded
AuthorSheeba Sojanar
ISBN9781636407142
Edition Reviewed 2022
The Asian Review Rating8.5 out of 10

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