Savi and the Memory Keeper
by Bijal Vachharajani
Publisher: Hatchette (2021)
In Alan Kay’s words, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Weaved with humor and heart, Savi and the Memory keeper is a friendly yet alarming attempt to shape young minds to address the global climate crisis. It tells how grief and a sense of remorse can be mutual to all and unites us to stand upfront to save the future.
An extremely powerful story about Savitri, otherwise known as Savi, who moves from Delhi to Shajarpur with her mother and sister after her father’s demise. The new place, Shajarpur, is nothing less than a dreamland with a perfect climate, glorious weather, and all the “just-right” things. Savitri gets flooded with memories of her father from her past every now and then. She disinterestedly joins an Eco Club at her school. As she tries to fit into the new place, she discovers something magical with the giant Ficus tree which transports her to a different time and place. She gets to see things that nobody knows about.
Somehow, she manages to be a part of a group of hip people who stood parallelly with the Eco club members and their ideas. She couldn’t share anything happening to her with anyone until she finds out that all the club members are gifted with an unusual ability to communicate with nature. All of them shared the grief of losing someone close to them and that brought them together. They helped Savi save her dad’s plants and learn a thing or two about gardening.
As the climate of Shajarpur worsened, Savi and her Eco Club friends try to communicate with the tree to get some information about what was happening. The tree took Savi to see what the TLEU (ATA) was planning in the name of progress.
Savi comes up with a plan to save Shajarpur and the trees from the destructive ideas of the progressive leaders but what is the plan? Will the idea save the city of Shajarpur? Will she gather the support of the people in controlling climate change?
It highlights the importance of empathy, kindness, and teamwork. The hype around this book is unquestionable and, admittedly, that made me both eager to get my hands on it. I knew this one was a must-read children’s fiction, so I was ready to set my fears aside and dive in. It is a combination of contemporary realism and fantasy, blurring the edges in a way that highlights that place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth and the world as it appears is false, and where just about anything can happen. That said, I had an altogether more personal, ulterior motive for wanting to read this book.
It managed to surpass my high expectations and be nothing at all like I expected. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can’t help it. My mind is completely blown away by the approachable writing that is educating and delightful together with a spine-tingling plot that expands our space for dealing with grief and finding comfort in it.