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Behind The Beautiful Forevers

I finally got around to reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers and here's an Indian DCBA's viewpoint of this book.

I won't call this a review because that would mean I can rate the quality of writing.  That's not my purpose here.  I am here to tell you how I felt about a western author writing about the poorest people of Mumbai.

The "storyline" is a bit meandering. There is no clear direction for the plot line. It seems that Boo was overwhelmed by the lives and situations of the people in the Annawadi slum that she couldn't focus on just a few people or their lives. Every person's life was so filled with misery and sadness that, she tried to give everyone an equal footing in her book. This left the book with no clear message or guidance other than: living in the slums is awful.

The paragraph above is my warning to all the western readers that might come across this book. As a man from India, I on the other hand, thank Boo for being honest in her book. There are so many lives being lost to dismay in the slums that it is impossible to lift one person's story to the main plot. Any of the people of Annawadi slum could have their lives turned into the plot line of a movie that very few people would watch but, would get millions of awards. You know the type of movie I am talking about - basically anything from this list: https://variety.com/lists/best-box-office-flops/

Be warned reader, at the end of the book, you will be left with great appreciation of your comfortable life and, with great sadness. There's only so much you, as one person, can do to fix the misfortune of the millions of others in this world.

The fact that this is real life is maddening.

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