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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (edition 2012)

by Katherine Boo

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,0421943,271 (4.11)1 / 345
Member:jpyvr
Title:Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Authors:Katherine Boo
Info:Random House (2012) Kindle Edition
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Kindle, Nonfiction, Journalism, India, Prizewinners

Work details

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

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English (198)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
This was an incredible look into another world and one I usually see only through a microscope of others'opinions. People living in a slum in a Mumbai are portrayed as they are, and they are in many ways just like us. The examples of real people who are striving for a better way to live within the confines of what they have, are very much like the strivings of all of us.

The worst was the corruption that reached down to the local police. Everyone had to be paid.

Or perhaps not, even worse was the hopelessness of young girls who saw no way out of a miserable life in a debasing marriage.

Makes you long for change.
  Cyss | Apr 4, 2015 |
This book is beautifully written! I found the content sometimes funny, sometimes strange, often heartbreaking, terrifying, frustrating, but hopeful. A brave and honest look into the heart of the Mumbai slums and the people who live there. ( )
  Juva | Mar 30, 2015 |
Both dark and enlightening at once. While the subject matter may offend some sensibilities, it reminds others that we have much to be grateful for. ( )
  JenBurge | Mar 20, 2015 |
I absolutely loved this book! This is a great example of a nonfiction book that reads like a novel due to the author's exceptional research and the spectacular writing, weaving together the stories of the families and people (predominantly children) living in the hellhole environment of a Mumbai slum by a sewage lake, making the reader feel like an observer to their day to day existence. I was astounded by their ability to overcome and persevere (at least most of them) through the obstacles, events, and unfairness thrown at them by an incredibly, ludicrously corrupt system. Then I found myself doubly amazed to remember that these are not just characters in a novel, these are actual real people living these lives! Boo includes a very interesting explanation of how she conducted her research and of her process in putting this book together. I greatly admire her dedication to bringing these lives to light and showing a little piece of what it is like to live in another part of our world! ( )
  michellebarton | Mar 12, 2015 |
Very moving account of the people who live in the slums of India, despite their industrious spirit. ( )
  marcal | Jan 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
Boo, in letting go of her story, in dwelling with it relatively briefly in her book's 250 pages (in contrast to the years she spent with the slum-dwellers), allows it to resonate with us as a small classic of contemporary writing.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Katherine Booprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Malhotra, SunilReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For two Sunils
and what they've taught me about not giving up
First words
Midnight was closing in, the one-legged woman was grievously burned, and the Mumbai police were coming for Abdul and his father.
Quotations
“Instead, powerless individuals blamed other powerless individuals for what they lacked. Sometimes they tried to destroy one another. Sometimes, like Fatima, they destroyed themselves in the process.”
She was damaged, and acknowledged it freely. She was illiterate--acknowledged that, too. But when others spoke of her fury as an ignorant, animal thing, that was bukwaas, utter nonsense. Much of her outrage derived from a belated recognition that she was as human as anyone else.
. . . He still found it strange to think of her as dead, because at Annawadi he hadn't considered her fully alive. Like many of his neighbors, he had assessed her damage, physical and emotional, and casually assigned her to a lesser plane of existence. . . .
In the West, and among some in the Indian elite, this word, "corruption", had purely negative connotations; it was seen as blocking India's modern, global ambitions. But for the poor of a country where corruption thieved a great deal of opportunity, corruption was one of the genuine opportunities that remained.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and a India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a teenager who sorts and sells recyclable airport garbage, believes that he's on the verge of lifting his family of eleven out of poverty. Asha, a mother of three, is determined to make her sensitive teenage daughter, Manju, the first female college graduate in Annawadi. Meanwhile, even the poorest among them, like Kalu, a homeless, fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, feel themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call the "Full Enjoy." But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terrorism and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the true contours of an unequal, desperately competitive market city are revealed, so too are the resilience and ingenuity of the people of Annawadi. (978-1-4000-6755-8)
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Profiles everyday life in the settlement of Annawadi as experienced by a Muslim teen, an ambitious rural mother, and a young scrap metal thief, illuminating how their efforts to build better lives are challenged by religious, caste, and economic tensions.… (more)

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