Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity was eye-opening and heart-breaking. Katherine Boo came to Pittsburgh and I didn't see her but my friends did. The title refers to a billboard that hides Annawadi and reminded me of the ways in which Chicago's housing projects were hidden from view from the parkway. I had read that in There Are No Children Here: the Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America and it has haunted me ever since. Annawadi is referred to as a slum of Mumbai everywhere online but here in the book's title is it called an "undercity" and while I can figure out what that means, I can't seem to find a formal definition or history of the word.
I think this is a very good book and certainly, Boo is an esteemed writer. For me I had a hard time paying attention at times and I am not sure why. I do love this kind of nonfiction, not being an intellectual, I love the nonfiction that reads like fiction and this does, but I don't know. I will certainly recommend this book, and I am glad I read it but it was not read that I read thinking, "I can't wait to get back to the book," but rather "I will be glad when I am done."
What's Going On Here?
There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.