Review – “Stepping Stones” by Lubhna Dongre

Stepping Stones by Lubhna Dongre is an inspirational cum motivational non-fiction book written by the youngest author I’ve ever read. In her words, it is ‘My life experiences and learning together acting as a beacon light for aspiring youth.’

When I was a young girl during the commencement of the new Millenium, all I could think about was school, homework, exams and play, each and every single day of my, in today’s essence, oh-so-boring-life. My, and mostly every kid’s life those days revolved around these now mundane things. Things aren’t the same now. Kids born after the turn of the century are more mature than us born before them, and also easily prone to feelings which usually doesn’t/seldom touches us. I am sure, most of us never heard the words depression, lost, demotivated, disillusioned or unfocused, for either ourselves or our friends during our childhood or teenaged days. These emotions, or if I must say, mental state, is something that never bothered until life happened to us. Talking about life happening, what happened to us at a decent adult age, kids today face it much earlier than wanted, say during their teenage. When I was naive and didn’t know better, and when I saw these youngsters with all their gadgets and overexposure to the world, I always felt a twinge of jealousy. But then if I say I only felt this even after I became aware, I would be showing you only one side of the coin. The other side is much much harsher than what is seen, a reality that is still condemned despite it’s growing roots. The mere fact that this book is written by a 14-year-old about her experiences brings across a plethora of questions, how can someone so young give motivation and talk about the importance of goal setting and ways to achieve it? Why the need? But what we don’t get is that these kids are facing a world that was never so harsh and competitive in our times, and thus they have to be smarter than we were at their age. For this, they need not get wayward and always move towards their goals, and this book does that, explains each and every aspect that is related to life’s goal, it’s setting, its path, and the problems that arise, the solutions and finally getting to it.

When the author contacted me to review her book, I was impressed, for the feat which she has achieved at such a young age is commendable. Not everyone can do such things, and for the greater good, the number is even less. Along with my appreciation for the author, I somewhere felt that the kind of book she has written is far too much for her given the teenaged life and its limited experiences. There is no problem with the writing or grammar whatsoever, barring the spark that is needed, the polishing factor that would have turned this book from average to above average.
To be honest, I don’t know where to start reviewing this book. It holds no story, in particular, just observations and experiences and the subsequent learnings of a teenage girl, which she aims to share with others. The whole book is divided into chapters, each one of them focuses on some of the other aspects of “YOU and YOUR GOAL” and related issues, with several sub-points breaking down into exact problems and their solutions. Although the nature of the book is to inspire the youth and herd them into focus, the feeling that I got from it was more of that of an essay, a very long essay that would definitely get full marks in any competition. The step by step explanation of how to begin and reach one’s goals becomes a little tedious over time and gets more preachy than friendly as I moved deeper. But here, I’d surely praise the author for trying to do a job which most of us shy away from, GUIDING the lost folks, and not trying to make them your followers, which is generally the trend now. There is ample use of quotes from famous personalities showing the hard research work put into the creation of this book. Moreover, the letters and e-mails to known figures of India and their replies further concrete the author’s determination and grit in being a Samaritan for her peers. 
Surely, this book will be a boon to those looking for answers, but for people like me, who have always been confident about everything in life, thanks to the people who have always been by my side, it might not resonate so much.


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