Behind the Beautiful Forevers

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo

I read this book for my book club in August and I found it to be an excellent non-fiction read that held my attention throughout while also bringing to the forefront the daily struggles of individuals living in a slum area of Mumbai. Katherine Boo brought to life the individuals living and dying in the ‘under city’ near Mumbai airport and casts a spotlight on many of the global issues that affect the daily lives and livelihoods of these families.

While Boo’s methodology could have been better from an academic perspective, as a journalist and popular writer, this book certainly speaks to the difficulties of the poor folks living in Mumbai and demonstrates to the reader that corruption, bribery, greed, coercion, and the need for power exists at all levels of society. Because Boo lived amidst these families for several years, her narrative is extremely personal at times, even going so far as to speak the inner thoughts and musings of the individuals she is writing about. This felt like a bit of a stretch at times (how could she know what other people were thinking?) but it also contributed to her ability to bring these people to life for the reader and write an engaging narrative. 

As we discussed at our book club meeting, this non-fiction book read more like fiction/drama which makes it appealing and readable for a wider audience which is both fantastic and problematic at the same time, depending on your point-of-view. But overall, it’s worth the read and I have no hesitation recommending this book. 

Read on my friends!

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