Ann Spivack'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
Apr 28, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 28 to June 01, 2012

So beautifully written--and yet so painful to read-- this book about the people in the Annawadi slums just outside Mumbai's airport might be the most careful, thoughtful, heartbreaking book I've ever read. Katherine Boo is that rare writer whose research is diligent and untiring, but who also can write. God, can this woman write. It's disheartening to see the unfairness of this lowest ranking echelon of Indian society, the ways in which the poor prey on the slightly more poor. The children that Boo writes about--Sunil and Abdul, Meena and Manju, Sanjay and Kalu--you can't help but care about them, even as hope for them grows thinner and thinner.
At one point Boo says that the inequities in Mumbai equal the inequities in NYC or DC. She wonders, given the sheer number of the poor in India, why they tolerate a system in which money raised to help the poor is drained away through corruption, and often siphoned back to the wealthy and to those in power. Why? It may be the question of our times.

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