Vikas Prakash Joshi’s debut book, My Name is Cinnamon, comes highly recommended from many quarters, and I had the fortune of interacting with the young author at @PILF.
The book is about a character whose moniker is Cinnamon. Cinnamon has been adopted by his Bengali mother and Marathi father and stays in Pune. He struggles with Math and loves History, English, football, art, and of course, food across different cuisines.
Cinnamon’s parents have always been upfront about his adoption, and that is very heart-warming to read. Even his school friends and best friend, Pallavi, are aware of it. Life volleyballs between school and home life with pure vegetarian baba and a meat-loving mother and him.
The book brings water to my mouth with the choicest of dishes mentioned and a trip to Kolkata and a journey of their mouth-tsunaming food!
One day on being denied a birthday gift of a bicycle, Cinnamon is made to feel the reason lies in his adoption. And he demands to meet his biological parents, and his parents, however reluctantly, agree.
Cinnamon and his parents set out to Nandurbar where his biological parents stay. What happens next? Does Cinnamon meet his parents? Will he go back with his adoptive parents?
The book is narrated from Cinnamon’s perspective and we view the world via his lens. Vikas covers two significant grounds in this book. Primarily he focuses on how adoption can (and should) be normalised and the parents of his protagonist emphasise this point very well. The second reason will become clearer when one reads the book.
What I felt needed in the book was more exploration of Cinnamon’s characters, especially his best friend, Pallavi. Their interactions didn’t warrant a BFF tag, and we don’t learn about her as much as we should have. The second reveal in the book would have worked even better if foreshadowing had been more effective.
All in all, My Name is Cinnamon is a delightful book, full of child-like innocence and touching moments.