January 16, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Review: Danielle Lim’s ‘The Sound of SCH’ is a life-affirming book

1 min read

by Tara Dhar

The_Sound_of_Sch_cover_small_374a453e-578c-46ba-8e7b-24587fcc9995_1024x1024The Sound of SCH: A Mental Breakdown, A Life Journey by Danielle Lim; Ethos Books, 2014; S$18.60

A while ago, a friend gave me a copy of The Sound of Sch. Intrigued by the title, I started reading, and was hooked from page one itself.

The author intended it as a tribute to her maternal uncle, her grandma and her mother, all of whom walked a difficult path, of caring for the uncle, who developed schizophrenia at a young age. Yet equally, it is a moving memoir of growing up in a Singapore which was very different from the one we live in today, in which we read about a Balestier plagued by ‘gangsters’, the author’s grandma travels long distances to wash the clothes of well-off people for a small payment, people frequent bomohs to get cured of illnesses, and many similar vignettes.

The main time-line of this deeply personal story of strong and enduring family-bonds goes from 1961-1994. From chapter 6 especially, as the author herself enters the story, we see everything mainly from the perspective of a little girl of nine, trying to make sense of a complex adult world. 

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