This book shared important information that I am not subjected to in my daily life. I am glad to have read this story, to learn of the conditions in the slums of Mumbai, to understand the corrupt justice process that occurs there. I had a huge knowledge gap and this filled it.
The author did a great job of helping the reader see how poor people can come to blame each other instead of those who oppress them (government or other people in charge). I could tell it was written by a journalist. Her account was extremely balanced, but at the same time, it lacked that emotional quality I was looking for. I found the matter of fact style a bit dry at times and confusing at other times. Without more of an emotional investment in the characters, it made it hard to keep in mind who was who, which made it difficult to follow the story.
Overall though, such an important read!
The description of Sunil ingratiating himself to the (catering?) security guards to gain preferred access to their trash.
Survival with globalization.
I emigrated from India to the US over 30 years ago. I'm planning to return there for good soon. I had to authenticate the author's references and listen to her interviews on NPR and PBS to verify her claims. I intend to use this work to frame my home country since I've never known it in this manner!
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 started this book in hard copy, but when life kept getting in the way of my ability to find time to curl up with a good book, I turned to Audible to fill my commute hours with this masterpiece. (The narration was fantastic.) I actually started this book without knowing it is a work of nonfiction, and only realized it when I listened to the author's afterword. The most fantastic parts of this book, for me, are the respect the author shows for the characters and her restraint in how she describes the contrast of their lives from our lives and the lives of the people coming and going from the airport. She describes the lives and ambitions of each individual from a neutral place, without a hint of the patronization which could so easily and subconsciously pervade any depiction of lives in extreme poverty by one who is not. One of the most powerful moments in the book is when she takes a brief break from describing the tragedy that has turned two families against eachother to "listen in" on a Disney park executive's comments about how he just can't bring himself to visit a Universal theme park to check out the competition because he just can't stomach the idea of giving a penny to his competition. The author returns to the story of the families to describe how, despite the tragedy that has turned them into adversaries, they come together to help eachother fulfill a religious obligation. The contrast she creates with that brief snippet is so profound and moving, it haunted me for the rest of the book. Powerful read.
I've been listening to audio books for years and have been an audible subscriber for ? 10 years maybe? A long time anyway.
Less is more
Just too long
Certainly a wonderful narrator with accents
If you highlight any character, fleshing them out either not at all or a bit more would be better.
It just bogged down. I really wanted something good to happen, even in those terrible slums. Too sad to bare.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
The seamy side of disproportionate wealth frequently appears in books. Some are classics of fiction like “The Grapes of Wrath”; others are modern fictions, apocryphal, and less renowned, like Aravind Adiga’s “White Tiger”. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” shows the ugly truth of a poorly regulated capitalist economy. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” is a true story of modern India that exposes the seams of an economic system that widens and perpetuates a gap between haves and have-nots. India’s current economic system guarantees a permanent underclass, characterized by poverty, malnutrition, and disease. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” is about Mumbai’s poor; written by a seasoned reporter, Katherine Boo.
There is “No Exit” for the poverty-stricken Mumbai underclass. Future generations of the poor are guaranteed nothing but life, with little education and dwindling economic opportunity. The value of corruption is reinforced. The inner compass of human morality spins as schemes to defraud and grinding poverty guarantee an underclass existence in perpetual slums.
Mumbai is a daunting example of how disproportionate wealth corrupts morality, undermines democracy, and smears the reputation of capitalist economies.
This story is real, or very close to real. Descriptions of the lives of people in Annawadi were written in great, believable detail. In one way, the story makes you acknowledge just how much you have and how fortunate you are. In another way, it makes you feel inferior, of the amount of awareness and perseverance that the people in Annawadi have despite corruption, greed, and the weight of the caste system. This is a must read.
While reading this book...and now that I'm finished, I can't get it out of my mind. The real life characters of the story have taken hold of me & I feel like I'll never be the same again. Simply the best audiobook I've bought to date.
Middle aged tech employee with interests from behavioral economics to Harry Potter. I live on a small farm outside of Kent Ohio.
you will be transported into a world otherwise unavailable to most of us from the West. Tough, beautiful, at times painful, read.