Friday, July 20, 2012

book: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

 Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Usually, I'm not a big supporter of non-fiction. Unless it's by Lauren Hillenbrand (who wrote Seabiscuit and Unbroken...if you haven't read either of those do so now..they are so GOOD) I'm usually not interested. I tend to pick topics that I think will be interesting, and then half way through I've lost interest through all of the technical jargon and mumbo jumbo that tends to accompany dry, non-fiction books.

This book, however, was able to captivate me. Katherine Boo, a writer from D.C. (local! :)), was able to catch the human story in a way that was captivating and thought provoking. Boo spent years researching and living in a slum outside of the international airport in Mumbai, India. The stark contrast between a flourishing city in an economic boom, and those stuck in a poverty still lingering from the country's caste system, is striking.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers followed the stories of individuals, real people living real lives. You were able to relate with their dreams and hope that they succeeded. I had a hard time remembering that these people were REAL, living, breathing individuals out there in the world. Their stories were so different than anything I had ever heard, the horrific things they had to endure seemed like they should have come out of someone's imagination.

Boo does an excellent job reminding us that behind the poverty statistics and numbers, there are beings that live and dream like everybody else. This story was really thought provoking, and I recommend it to anybody ready to see  a harsh view of reality.

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