Audra'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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's review
Jan 04, 2013

really liked it
Recommended to Audra by: Karen
Read from January 01 to 04, 2013 — I own a copy

The reviews accompanying Goodread's info page for this book are very sound (they say what I wish I'd said first!), so I'll just add a personal comment: I dreaded encountering tales of India's poor yet again, they are so painful to read and imagine. Yet Boo writes well, well enough to overcome my reluctance about the content. The book is reminiscent of Adiga's Last Man in Tower and even more of Mistry's A Fine Balance, yet their novels (esp. Mistry's) are unlike Boo's in their portrayals of people's indomitable cheerfulness and optimism in the midst of severe obstacles. Boo's characters are more grim and determined, more defeated; yet both books make me marvel at human resilience. I felt the same way when doing clinical social work with Americans whose monthly incomes were $1000 or less and who faced similar health, emotional, financial, corruption etc troubles. Corruption is not as widespread in the U.S. as in India, of course, but it sure affects the lives of the vulnerable in this country.

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