I'm probably going against the swelling tide of accolades for this book but I was somewhat disappointed. Although the writing was excellent, the book began to drag in the second half. The characters were well drawn and, considering it is a non-fiction book, were very compelling. The problem for me is the subject matter. How much pain about the reality of the human poverty condition can anyone take? The fact that the main characters had drawn the deuce of diamonds in the genetic lottery was so clearly drawn and portrayed by the author that it began to grate on my patience. It would be like reading a book about sado-masochism; how many stories do I have to read before I get the point that some people are mean and horrible. Although I appreciate what Katherine Boo has done, has she really revealed anything that I didn't know before? Life is unfair. Corruption is everywhere. There is no hope for a better life for 80% of the world. The book really just confirmed what I already knew: people can adapt to any condition, even filthy, disgusting places like Indian slums. Did it really require three years of intensive research, 3,000 documents and thousands of interviews to discover that life is really dreadful for the poor? I appreciate that she didn't make up the stories and actually followed several of the characters from beginning to end but these stories could have just as easily occurred in the slums of Mexico City or Zimbabwe. I guess the contrast of this slum right up against the richness of the hotels was meant to emphasize the poverty. To be truthful, I thought "The White Tiger" was head and shoulders above this book for revealing the heart and soul of the Indian personality. In that book, the author, although in a humorous, cynical method, demonstrates why the average or impoverished Indian is stuck in his or her position in life. One of the best concepts that I don't believe Mrs. Boo intended was the repudiation of the "Trickle down" theory of economics. As India gets richer, it is only the top 1% who benefit. The rest of the Country still only gets water twice a day. (For those interested, read "The Big Thirst" to see how backward one of the "richest" countries of the world is. The best part of the book was a renewed appreciation for how wonderful my life is and how lucky I am to live in the United States with all its problems.
I didn't read the print version but the narrator does make this settlement on the edge (in so many ways) come alive.
When a character reaches such a level of despair that setting themselves on fire seems like a solution.
Katherine Boo has done an amazing job of depicting a world so different than mine and yet the people are almost recognizable types trying their best to succeed where all the odds are against them. She documents day to day life in circumstances that seem almost impossible to survive and yet the people do and keep on striving for something better. It does make me realize where I was born is such a gift.
This was such a gripping account, I had to keep checking references to ensure that it was not fiction, or even based on a real story. The book is told in the third-person but such deep observations and presence that you even feel like you are right there, and the author must have been onsite more frequently than not, over the years. It was such a fascinating way of life to be told. Surprisingly, I did not have pity or disgust for the poverty and the way the families live in this common slum but, just the opposite. Most of the studied characters I could see rising upward, at least relatively speaking. They were enterprising, tireless, tried to pursue their education and advancement. It was really a fascinating study which made me wonder if this was really a necessary step in the evolution of developing countries and their people.
I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.
Behind the Beautiful Forever" is a very jarring book about life in Annawadi, a slum located near the Mumbai airport, just steps away from luxury Indian hotels. This true story chronicles the lives of multiple Annawadi residents who struggle to survive and pray to get ahead in this god-awful community.
Well written with convincing characterization of people and place.
My complaint is that the constant emphasis is on the horrors of life for these people.
The unjustness is noted in seemingly ever aspect of life.
Yes we who live in so much better conditions need to know but there is too much of
the "Behind" and not enough of the "Beautiful Forevers".
More subtlety or write a sociological essay.
Nothing. Powerful. Will read at a different time.
Didnt finish the book
Didn't start the book
I felt this was a standard good book, good read/listen. I have actually been to Mumbai and the slums so I feel that enhanced the listening experience. Good story though, hopefully it brings some attention to an often forgotten/overlooked demographic in India.
This book has no plot that carries through the book - or at least not a strong enough one to sustain a storyline. There is a plethora of exceedingly depressing characters with few, if any, redeeming characteristics. Life is too short for this type of book for me.
Honestly, I couldn't keep anyone straight - that was part of the problem.
The book jumps in time, which further adds to the confusion for the reader. I don't even know where to begin.
Yes. The book is incredibly enlightening as well as engrossing.
A Fine Balance, the novel by Rohinton Mistry. Only this is all real.
I haven't listen to any other, but he's fantastic on this audiobook.
There are no "tidbits"--everything is important! The most eye-opening parts of the book are about corruption, which is ubiquitous.
Probably. I think at times, it could be kind of dry in the print verson. The narration made it seem more like a novel than nonfiction.
This was one of those books that I had to kind of make myself stick with it. It got somewhat repetative at points, and was a little hard to follow because of all the different names. But it's also a book that has kind of stuck with me, that I keep flashing back to, especially when I see reports about slums in India. I feel like I have more of an empathy for the people.I wish that the author's description of how she was able to write the book was at the beginning, rather than at the end. It was fascinating.