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Bangalore Baloney Paperback – October 15, 2013
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About the Author
Thomas Itty is a writer, musician, songwriter and marketing professional. He attended Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in Bangalore and began working as an advertising copywriter when he was just seventeen years old. He started his own advertising agency, The Ad-Pad, when he was twenty-two. A few years later, he left for New York City to continue his education. Since then, he has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Arts, a Master’s degree in Media Studies and an MBA in Marketing Management. Thomas has worked in the New York region as a creative director, media specialist, marketing manager and business development manager for over twenty years. He currently lives in Westchester County with his wife Barbara and their children, Nathaniel and Alexandra. Bangalore Baloney is his first novel. Please visit www.thomasitty.com to listen and purchase songs featured in Bangalore Baloney. All songs are written and performed by Thomas Itty.
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The tale follows the main characters through three pivotal stages of life. Characters who were once unsympathetic are revisited in later sections and we can see if and how they've changed. Its very interesting and one of the more realistic aspects to the story. Very rarely are characters exactly as they seem, and some do complete 180s. We also have a taste of life in India, from caste differences to the difference between various tongues. I really enjoyed this aspect of the tale, as I love learning about other places. The writing sometimes sounds a little off (such as character dialogue) but its probably dialect differences tripping me up. Its written with a nice level of detail. Character development, as mentioned is probably the best thing about this tale and the reason why it was best conveying over three decades.
Bangalore Baloney is a sprawling tale of friendship that crosses many years. Were shown the heights and depths of a good friendship, and just how enduring it is.
Three main characters: Swami, George and Venu take center stage in this story that digresses on many different levels, that I felt, deals with life’s journey. Each of the characters comes from different backgrounds and upbringing that span across a number of avenues. These avenues encompass everything from economic to popularity. All have on thing in common… Friendship! Frankly what else can be better?
I thought that story was well written, the charters are developed lovely with amazing character development and vivid descriptiveness that all of us, in some way can relate too. My favorite character is George who came back from America and whose the rich kid we all hated in school (at least I did anyway). Itty’s description of him and the way George acts around the others made me reminisced the rich kids at the school that I attended. The backdrop, being set in India in the beginning, I thought made the story all the more entertaining and lavishly original.
All and all a great read that I was able to put down in a night and a half. It left me smiling and had me calling some of my friends that I have not had a chance to call in quite sometime.
Swami, George and Venu form a trio called the Scrimshankers They become best of friends at an all-boys middle school in Bangalore, India when the book begins and when the book ends, the now thirty-something Scrimshankers’ relationship is just as strong.
Swami is our middle ground; an upper-middle class, brown-skinned Indian boy with writerly instincts. George is the pretty boy, an affluent child who was born in America but returned to India with his family. Finally, Venu is the late bloomer who belongs to a working class-family.
One of the most compelling aspects of Bangalore Baloney is its sweeping three-part structure. Characters that we see early on in our story evolve and change as the years advance. An early obstacle for our young boys is that of C.K. Ganguli, a prefect at the all-boys school who is jealous of George’s spoiled upbringing and makes him and the rest of the trio’s life a living hell. C.K. is written with all the authenticity and seriousness of a full-fledged childhood bully and yet the book revisits him at the end, a changed man. Similarly, Venu’s alcoholic father beats his wife and his kids, but later quits drinking and becomes Venu’s biggest advocate when he gets into medical school.
This reader also learned a lot while going through the book. In addition to the international setting and scope, Itty frequently gives us background and history in everything from the competitive high school entrance exam system in India, to Idi Amin’s expulsion of hardworking Indians in Uganda, to the blockbusting of African-Americans in East New York. The lattermost example, for example, gives dimension to a crack-addicted Jamaican co-worker of George’s, who one might be quick to judge without the history. At times, though, Itty’s editorial interjections feel cumbersome and take the reader out of the story. The constant detail is occasionally overwhelming and its success often comes down to one’s own interest and curiosity in what’s being explained.
Itty also has included several original musical interludes throughout the story. George grows up to be a big-time singer and songwriter and many of the musical pieces reflect a thematic phase of the sweeping story.
Bangalore Baloney is a good-hearted novel with characters that are sympathetic and fundamentally decent. Early on, Swami and Venu lament the fact that George was given everything – the looks, the talent, the money – but as the years go by, Swami and Vanu find their own confidence and they realize that the grass isn’t always greener. That’s life.