A Bibliophile’s Review On: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

**Note: The following thoughts and reflections are my own and do not have to be a view for everyone to agree with.. Just sharing my thoughts!

Wow. That was my first impression of this book. I kept telling myself that the stories couldn’t be real. Shaking my head at any chance I got to make myself believe that everything in the book was fiction… And then I read the Author’s note and how not only the stories are true, but the names as well.

I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time, I knew experiences like this happened in India, its just hard to picture at times.

I am so thankful that this book found me. A friend in my program loaned it to me upon return from her travels in India, visiting the slum areas and seeing the images the book portrays herself. I wanted to go on this trip with her but due to finances, I was not able to, so I was hoping this book would be able to paint a picture on what I missed.

All I can say is wow. I really enjoyed the book (even though it took me forever to read – but I blame myself and grad school for that)

I waited to reflect on the author’s point of view until the very end. I wanted to hear her side of the story before I made any comments. I do often times wonder what her experiences were like there as a white female telling the story of the Annawadi people. She mentions briefly that it was difficult in the beginning, but with all of the details mentioned she included in this book, I can’t imagine their community to want their full truths out there in the open without a little confidentiality. I mean, there were stories of theft, prostitution, fraud, bribery, etc. and full names were accurate throughout the book.. I can see it as being great to finally bring truth to how the Annawadi, and possibly other villages surrounding Mumbai, live, but I also have been thinking about privilege a lot and what that entails for a journalist like Katherine.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and recommend anyone who is interested of the details behind what a slum village is like and may not have the means of going there at this time, to read it.

Be sure to check out Katherine’s website for more information on the book!

VA

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