Jonathan Miller'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 14, 2013

liked it

Read all the other reviews for what this is about. Boo's question is really interesting: since the global rich and poor live in such close proximity, why aren't today's global cities centers of revolt and disruption? She answer this on page 241.

"Abdul's father had developed an irritating habit of talking about the future as if it were a bus: "It's moving past and you think you're going to miss it but then you say, wait, maybe I won't miss it -- I just have to run faster than I've ever run before. Only now we're all tired and damaged, so how far can we really run? You have to try to catch it, even when you know you're not going to catch it, when maybe it's better just to let it go --"

But the question I was left with was about Boo's technique. How legitimate is it? How much was true reporting of words quoted by slim dwellers in Annawadi, or their thoughts relayed to her, and how much was made up? In the prologue how does she know what is going though Abdul's mind in such detail?

I would like to hear what an anthropologist thinks of this book. I would LOVE to know what the residents of Annawadi thought of it.
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message 1: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth I hadn't read the reviews beforehand, and I read most of this book under the misconception that it was fiction. It reads like fiction. So I, too, wonder how she recorded all the dialogue. A reporter from a big-deal newspaper would ordinarily not stray from accurate quotes.

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