Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back with a Depressing but Beautifully Written Book

I’m back. Yes, I pretty much took the summer off but didn’t stop reading. In fact, I probably read more than normal. I enjoyed many of the books that have piled up on my nightstand. And many of the books in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I have a long way to go on those 1,001 books but I did make a dent, albeit very small, this summer. Well, I’ve returned with a depressing choice - Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Yes, it’s depressing but it’s also well written and very interesting. We all know about the poverty in third-world countries such as India. This book brings us right into one of those cardboard shack slums. Boo followed and interviewed the characters of this book over a long period of time. She put much work into this project and was able to show their life and emotions well. The overwhelming obstacles these people face are described well in Boo’s book. Intriguing, depressing, yet beautiful is how I’d describe this non-fiction piece of work. My biggest criticism would be that Boo did not go into much detail regarding the politics and corruption behind what these people face in their everyday life for survival. I would have liked to receive more factual information and the whys behind the corrupt system. But, needless to say, I still loved the book and its characters. It certainly brought out all kinds of emotions as I read it: sadness, depression, tears, anger and even laughter at times. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a great book – read it!

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