• Monika Satote

The Fishbowl by Vivek Kumar : A Book Review

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Have you lived in a hostel/ or been to a boarding school? How was your experience?


I have been living away from home for the last 12 years. I went to a boarding school, then lived in the college hostel and rented flats. It was the only option as the place I hail from had not many educational opportunities. Living away from family is always challenging, but it makes you tougher. I owe a lot to my hostel life for all the mental strength I have today. I am talking about hostel life because the book I am reviewing here has a major theme based on it.

The Fishbowl by Vivek Kumar is inspired by some of the events from the author's years in a boarding school with fictional touch. This book is a journey of kids staying in boarding school and how they transform from innocent children to the individualists. The plot is very simple. It is a series of events happening in the school years. I loved the way the author has thrown light on life in boarding school but did not hesitate to highlight the darker side too. My life in boarding school was amazing. But at some points, it just gets tough without loved ones. You meet people from various economic, social and cultural backgrounds. You get into moments of fear, judgements, self-doubts, mischief, friendships, failures, victories, and joy. And there is no one to share your feelings with. But as time passes, you make friends. Some really great friends. Fishbowl nicely describes such moments in the book. The book has rural vibes so neither your hostel life would be the exact as this book describes nor you will find everything relatable. But, yes, the basic hostel life vibe is relatable.


It’s all just a fishbowl

you are sleeping inside

and when you wake up

it will be gone.


The author has used some hints of magical realism to tell us about the feelings of the lead character as a kid staying in the boarding school. I loved that part.

Overall, this book impressed me in parts but also baffled me in some because of the stagnated conversation. I think a little more focus on dialogue editing and character sketch can make this book a comprehensive depiction of hostel life, rather the life in boarding school.


You can buy the book here.


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