Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I'm going to guess that, given the Pulitzer Prize this won last year, I don't need to go too in-depth in my description.  Katherine Boo is a journalist who spent three years chronicling the lives of several families in Annawadi, a Mumbai slum.  Behind the Beautiful Forevers is the story that came from those years of research and experiences as Boo immersed herself into life in Annawadi.

I feel like it would be ridiculous of me to try to critique the writing in this book.  So I'm going to have a rare moment of humility and let the Pulitzer speak for itself.  It is well-deserved.

Entertainment Value
I feel like the combination of books like this one with the Christian non-fiction I'm currently reading (Seven by Jen Hatmaker) are really giving me a new perspective on poverty and social injustice on a local and global scale.  I am so beyond blessed by the standards of basically everyone else in the world.  I am in the 1%.  It's hard to read this kind of book and realize that this is happening in the same world I live in today.  This isn't something that happened years ago or in a fictional world - this is how a large portion of the world's population lives today.

The book is heartbreaking, so be prepared.  It's not a comfortable read, but it is an important read.  I highly recommend it.  Books like this are so important and I appreciate the way Boo tells the story without moralizing.  To me, that made my own complicity in the social injustices stand out even more.  Had Boo spent the book preaching, I would have been turned off.  Instead she allows the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.  It's exactly the standard I look for in journalism and what I think is compelling about good journalism - its ability to inspire without a soapbox.

Read it.

1 comment:

  1. I recently read this book with another blogger and we loved it! I still can't stop recommending the book to people I know. It was just such a wonderful read and definitely needs to be read by everyone. So glad you liked it as well ;)