Review of "Dorji" by Alex Rothman

by - 9:43 AM

You shouldn’t compare yourself to them. You don’t get to choose what you find easy in life.
For people who want to get an extensive view of life in rural Bhutanese school, or simply reminisce your own days at school, ‘Dorji’ is a story of a class IX student in a country-side higher secondary school in Bhutan. Dorji likes to play football and watch TV in his spare times, and he helps his parents at the farm and with the cattle. He does not like making speeches and reading. He also does not spend much time planning out the future. He rather enjoys the uncertainty that comes with it. The year of class IX though has some spaces for contemplation to offer. Soon Dorji wants to take matters into his own hands and make some changes that will lead him to unexpected discoveries. 
‘Dorji’ is a book that I had always wanted to read, a story that I can relate to as someone who have studied in a similar school in Bhutan. There were some specific details that instantly threw me back to my days in school at Sarpang. They were so accurately articulated that I marvel at how much observation and emersion into the culture and environment of Drujegang HSS the author may have experienced to have been able to write them.     
For instance,
“Some of them held their sickles and were swinging away at the long grass absentmindedly.” (P. 17)
I laughed when I read this line because of how much it described me at the SUPW back in school. My mother used to give me a blunt little sickle because she worried I might hurt myself with a sharp one. Everyday I’d carelessly swing away at some grasses while I daydreamed the fifteen minutes away.
From swelling with pride at finishing his first novel (He was one of those people now) to teenage-crush butterflies to nudges under the table to dancing at the cultural show to personal insecurities, this is a story I wished I’d gotten to read when I was in school. It may have encouraged me to work harder!   


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