Em and the Big Hoom
Oh, I loved this book! Jerry Pinto joins a cadre of wonderful Indian authors writing great new fiction.
Em and the Big Hoom is narrated by the 17-year-old son, about his mother, Em, his father, the Big Hoom, and his sister, Susan. They are a family of four, but Em’s bipolar disorder is like the fifth person in the family. Her mental illness makes her either a manic force, wild and unpredictable, or else a depressive suicidal wreck. In either case, her family never knows which Em they will get at any particular time. The narrator tries to make sense of his mother’s past life, looking for the real Em underneath the illness. The Big Hoom remains devoted to his wife throughout their marriage. Mental illness has the power to either bring families close together, forging unbreakable bonds, or to break them apart in a million pieces, spinning them out of each other’s lives. To be able to write about this kind of topic in such a realistic, yet compassionate way is a true gift, and Jerry Pinto has it.
~ Lysbeth Abrams