Author: Abbas Kazerooni
Lenght: 240 pages
Publisher: Hachette India Children’s Book
He is 9 years old. He has never been alone. But he’s faced with a situation he never dreamt of. His life is about to change and how.
It is the story of a boy who has to live alone in a world that is alien to him. The protagonist’s journey is depicted vividly as he tries to make sense of the events unfolding in front of his eyes.
The Iran-Iraq war is at its bloodiest and Abbas has to to flee Tehran in order to avoid being drafted in the army. Time is running and if Abbas doesn’t leave soon, he will have to go to war. This urgency forces his parents to send him to Istanbul where it’s time for him to grow up and fend for himself.
On reaching Istanbul, Abbas soon realises he is on his own and going back would be disappointing his father; something that Abbas can never imagine doing. So he faces the frightening world ahead of him and plunges deep into the abyss. With some luck, his father’s guidance and presence of mind, Abbas soon finds his way into the unknown and within no time earns applaud, respect and money. ALL THIS AT THE AGE OF 9.
Living alone in a hotel for twelve weeks, Abbas begins to live life on his own terms. He suppresses his tears even when he wants to break down , travels to different places risking his life, spends money economically and has a meal only once a day. Knowing how vulnerable he is, Abbas has to watch his back and wait patiently to get a visa to England. But waiting is hard. Especially if you’re a 9 year old.
Had it not been a true story, I would have probably closed the book by now and refused to believe in all the things a 9 year old boy in the book was doing. The tact, logic and responsibility shown by Abbas is immeasurable. Any kid his age would have crumbled under pressure. The uncertainty, solitude and sadness didn’t weigh him down. He broke down, as is expected of a 9 year old, but he also got back up.
All in all, On Two Feet and wings, is a powerful memoir of separation, anger, loneliness and triumph. You will be at the edge of your seat, turning pages frantically and praying to every powerful force to keep Abbas safe and sound.