The Big Switch by John Thomas - Book ReviewGarima Rathi
My first impression of The Big Switch was that probably it is a self-help book. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the blurb. It got me hooked. The blurb of The Big Switch is bound to resonate with everyone who feels sandwiched between ‘Great Expectations’ – what others expect from you and what you expect from yourself!
The story is about a 24-year-old Keith, the protagonist of the story, who finds himself stranded on a crossroad. He has a choice to make between life-defining paths. One road ensures economic freedom but the journey isn’t intellectually satisfying and then there is the other road that shall help him fulfill his dreams but has an opportunity cost attached. Which one shall he choose?
Keith is solely responsible for the financial well-being of his family. He is a software engineer at a reputable company and gives his 100% to his work. He is an easy bait for his contriving manager, who overloads him with work and underrates his appraisal. He tries hard to make ends meet with his over-expectant girlfriend but she finally dumps him. Life becomes increasingly monotonous and frustrating. He begins to question the objective of his being.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Ramesh, his new manager for 2 weeks is the divine intervention that he seeks.
What had transpired between Ramesh and Keith that changed his perspective on life and dissolved his dilemma? What is the big switch that Keith does? What are the opportunity costs involved? Does Keith’s path to self-discovery see the light at the end of the tunnel? To know the answers to these questions, pick up this book.
All the characters are beautifully sketched. They are vividly brought to life through the portrayal of real characteristic traits.
Keith, our hero, is a boy-next-door. He is filled with enthusiasm to excel at work and that bubble bursts when he comes across a below expectation appraisal. He is a smart and confident but has his moments of self-doubt. Like all mortal beings, he also needs that ‘extra push’ to sail through the rough tides. His unrelenting spirit has been beautifully depicted.
Mathur - the sadist manager; Brijesh – the over-protective and genuinely concerned roommate; Ramesh – the high-spirited manager with a positive outlook on life; Maya – the over-expectant girlfriend and two other characters (to know who? You got to pick up the book) are realistically portrayed and hence seem very natural.
It is difficult for me to pick a favourite character as the author has justly portrayed all of them. You will love Ramesh, who is meant to be loved and you shall hate Maya and Mathur, who are meant to be hated.
This book is too good to be true as a debut novel. The book starts on a right note that has the readers hooked. The names of the chapters are very interesting. The dialogue writing is very natural and engrossing. The scenes are well built-up. The explanations of human emotions shall strike a chord in your heart. The book is well edited and is a page-turner.
The buildup to the climax was great but the climax is where the author let the strings a bit loose. I was slightly disappointed with the climax because it was very predictable. ‘Chance or luck’ seemed to play an important role in the climax. A good reasoning or logic to The Big Switch decision would have been more apt.
It is a beautiful story, simply written with a powerful message which is not preachy. Age is just a number. Let it not be a hindrance between your passion and yourself. What matters is your zeal to make your passion into a reality.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Do pick up this book if you want to lighten up your mood with a light read and yet end up with a strong message.