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Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Boo, Katherine (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers


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This work of narrative nonfiction tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities. In it, based on three years of reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. The events recounted are real, as are all the names. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees fortune in the recyclable garbage of richer people. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a rural childhood, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter, Annawadi's "most-everything girl," will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to good times they call "the full enjoy." But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.
Authors: Boo, Katherine
Title: Behind the beautiful forevers
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, ©2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
Characteristics: xxii, 256 pages ;,25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Contents: Between roses
Undercitizens. Annawadi ; Asha ; Sunil ; Manju.
The Business of Burning. Ghost house ; The hole she called a window ; The come-apart ; The master.
A Little Wildness. Marquee effect ; Parrots, caught and sold ; Proper sleep.
Up and Out. Nine nights of dance ; Something shining ; The trial ; Ice ; Black and white ; A school, a hospital, a cricket field.
Summary: This work of narrative nonfiction tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities. In it, based on three years of reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. The events recounted are real, as are all the names. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees fortune in the recyclable garbage of richer people. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a rural childhood, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter, Annawadi's "most-everything girl," will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to good times they call "the full enjoy." But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.
Awards & Distinctions: National Book Award. Finalist
Local Note: 6 7 8 9 15 17 18 27 35 53 57 67 71 74 79 80 97 109 112 118 127 133 138 143 148 149 150 151 156 159 160 167 172 173 176 182 188 193 203 205 210 211 216 222 224 226 228 231 242 245 250 263 264 268 274 278
ISBN: 0812994183
9780812994186
1400067553
9781400067558
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Report This Jan 28, 2014
  • ncinnb rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was heartbreading to read. The poverty and corruption the author describes seem insurmountable, but the human spirit shines through and the will to live is strong. I love the book's title - so mundane yet so deep!

Report This Oct 28, 2013
  • madison382 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Could not enjoy this book, because the subject matter was so sad, however I am glad I read this book, so that I can be more appreciative of what I have, and of the country I live in.

Report This Aug 29, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book was not an easy read; however, I came away with a vivid glimpse of life in an Indian slum and the insurmountable poverty plaguing each character, so much that it drove some to suicide. Even though it is non-fiction work, at times it read like fiction because of the great contrast to my own life experience. The unpredictability of life in an Indian slum makes one appreciate some of the things we take for granted in the US – the rule of law, healthcare, basic housing, city water and sewage systems.

Report This Jul 13, 2013
  • icujock rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Whoa! A KO. Having lived in Mumbai, I can say that Ms Boo has portrayed the conditions accurately. Grinding poverty, unknown to us in America, makes for some great Dickinsonian story-but the not so hidden message is about human nature and the ability to prevail under subhuman conditions.

Report This Jun 17, 2013
  • patienceandfortitude rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a hard book to read, about poverty in the slums of India -- a world completely different than the one I know. The lives of those portrayed are complex in their misery and their hopes. There are no easy answers to solve their desperate poverty and corruption is just part of the system. I'm glad I read this book as it is eye-opening, although very disturbing.

Report This Jun 04, 2013
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“What was unfolding in Mumbai was unfolding elsewhere, too. In the age of global market capitalism, hopes and grievances were narrowly conceived, which blunted a sense of common predicament. Poor people didn’t unite; they competed ferociously amongst themselves for gains as slender as they were provisional.” Katherine Boo gives an intimate look at life in a Bombay slum.

Loved this book, but was shocked when I read that it was a true story well researched by Ms. Boo. That made it all the more moving and poignant.

Report This Apr 07, 2013
  • d2013 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Engaging. Sad. A story about the poorest of the poor in the slums of India and their daily hardships. It is also a book of dreams/hope where sometimes there is none. Sure makes you appreciate the comforts of home.

Report This Apr 07, 2013
  • mclarjh rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

More fiction than fact in this reporter-written "narrative nonfiction" book.

Report This Mar 25, 2013
  • thart rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Read for the library's non-fiction book club (February 2013 - Crystal Lake Public Library). I liked it because it read like a novel and not just a list of facts, and also because it helps you see what life is like by those who live it everyday in the slums of India, right next to the burgeoning wealthier class. I felt it was a truthful account that tried to lay out how things work and why for some of the poorest people in the world. It makes you appreciate when you have your water shut off or heat shut off because of lack of money. This happens to those of us who are underpaid in the U.S. at least a few times a year, but it is a normal part of their lives to never even have it to begin with, so despite our struggles in the U.S., we should definitely appreciate what we have no matter what the circumstances. I definitely would recommend this book to those interested in contemporary life in India and those who want to appreciate what they have and the meaning of working smart in dire situations.

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