Thursday, March 22, 2012

Behind the beautiful forever's

By: Katherine Boo
Genre: Non Fiction Biography
Location 920 BOO
I have been to India twice and I get to go again in July. Sure it is becoming industrialised, it has the biggest English speaking population in the world, it is becoming IT savvy- yet behind this charade of progress there are still many children who go hungry, dalits who cant get jobs, girls who are murdered. India has come a long way- but it has a long way to go. This book looks at the underbelly of Mumbai- the under city. As the people have hope, they soon discover that hope and prosperity are a long way apart. I love India, the colours, the food, the people and I get to glimpse the hope of progress, yet when I enter the slum- I also get to see the power of hoplessness- it consumes and destroys. I hope Katherine Boo's book shouts aloud that all that seems good may not be. As a reviewer said 'This book blew me away . . . One of the most powerful indictments of economic inequality I've ever read.' Barabara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed


  1. When I started reading this book, I kept wondering if it was a novel -- no footnotes, no bibliography, and what extraordinary rendering of each "character." I started googling random information set forth in the book and they kept coming up factual. Then upon further contemplation, I realized that much of the book could not be annotated since the author could only write what she witnessed. There are no books to cite when your information comes from interviews and first-person witnessing. As a writer, I was enormously impressed with how the author kept herself out of the picture, how respectfully she rendered her subjects, and how amazing it was that people opened up to her. What she describes in this slum is unimaginable in our comfortable society. How the people living there under so much oppression can keep hopeful was inspiring. The author and the people who assisted her did everyone a great service. Even if we feel helpless to aid those living in India, we can always give aid to those who live near us. There is no shortage of need.

  2. Great comment- but I dont feel helpless to help those in India. As Mother Teresa said- if you cant feed one hundred hungry people at least feed one. So if we all do our little little bit we can make a difference. For me that is training untrained teachers who work in the slum schools of India. If we train them, the kids will get a better education to lift them out of the trap the culture imposes on them. As I meander through some of those slum areas in India I walk, talk, and connect with people- just like me, with hopes, dreams and aspirations- as I listen my hope and dream is that I can help fulfill theres. Books like this help us reflect apon our own contribution- it may be small, but it is something!