Becky's Reviews > Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
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Sep 06, 2012

it was amazing
Read in September, 2012

This book was a great combination - it was entertaining, in that I kept wanting to turn the page. It was educational, as I learned what life is actually like in a large slum in Mumbai. It was nonfiction, and that was great. And, there is a bigger context to the book, as the author has a question she wants to answer in her life: "What keeps poor people poor?" If I remember correctly, her assessment is that in India, the populace as a whole doesn't trust in social institutions to provide for the common good. That is the wealthy filter their own water, have their own security arrangements, and so on. A great deal of corruption is tolerated, and perhaps is necessary (for people such as police officers to actually make a living). The lives of the people in the slums are completely unpredictable, and that makes everyone less likely to pool their resources and work together.

Having given a summary of "lessons learned," I need to repeat that the people in this book were genuine and quite engaging. It must have been hard for the author and her translators to write about these people over a period of years, and to witness the deaths and disease that did occur.

People in Annawadi (the slum) had a lot of spunk and gumption. They seemed very familiar to me.
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