Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

By Katherine Boo

  • Release Date: 2012-02-07
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4
4
From 912 Ratings
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Description

In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.
 
Winner of the National Book Award | The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award | The Los Angeles Times Book Prize | The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award | The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award
 
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • USA Today • New York • The Miami Herald • San Francisco Chronicle • Newsday
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New Yorker • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • The Boston Globe • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Foreign Policy • The Seattle Times • The Nation • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Denver Post • Minneapolis Star Tribune • Salon • The Plain Dealer • The Week • Kansas City Star • Slate • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“A book of extraordinary intelligence [and] humanity . . . beyond groundbreaking.”—Junot Díaz, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Reported like Watergate, written like Great Expectations, and handily the best international nonfiction in years.”New York

“This book is both a tour de force of social justice reportage and a literary masterpiece.”—Judges’ Citation for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award
 
“[A] landmark book.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“A triumph of a book.”—Amartya Sen
 
“There are books that change the way you feel and see; this is one of them.”—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
 
“[A] stunning piece of narrative nonfiction . . . [Katherine] Boo’s prose is electric.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Inspiring, and irresistible . . . Boo’s extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as important, she makes us care.”—People

Reviews

  • Poignant Portrait of Slum Life in Mumbai

    5
    By BrerBearPlace
    For those of us privileged Westerners who have grown up insulated from this world of extreme poverty, Katherine Boo has painted an exquisitely endearing and painful portrait of slum life, 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers'. After reading for hours through the middle of nights over the last week, inconceivably, I have come to identify with Abdul and Sunil. At the end I realized this is nonfiction- amazing- read it- you'll see!
  • Terrible

    1
    By Dianapieana
    I kept reading in hopes it would get better. The story jumps from one family to about a dozen others, there are way too many characters and no real plot. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.
  • Light and darkness

    4
    By Sarah cruchill
    A wonderful writer to be able to succinctly express how to live on the underworld of our present society with the understanding that what we do even on a smallest scale of greed and corruption will all hurt all living beings!!!This book help me understand why being very poor has against all odds to survive in the urban jungles...😥
  • Unfinished

    3
    By Kaytlynne2
    Read one third of this intelligent, informative, book. Felt author should have simplified text. With too many characters, with too much switching between them, it seemed she just lost her way. In saying so much, she said too little. It was easy to loose empathy in the midst of chronic shock. Less characters with more access to their inner lives would have made this a real winner.
  • Interesting and at times boring...

    2
    By Victoria Santaella
    Amazing story, worth reading to understand poverty. However the author is at times too descrptive, making the story slow and boring.
  • Every American should read this book, twice.

    5
    By michael zamagias
    In a few words; life enhancing, every American should read her book.
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers

    5
    By Behind the beautiful Forevers
    So glad I bought this book. By that I mean, actually paid for it! My $14 seems like a drop in the bucket to the work that went into it. A sometimes poetic and often aching depiction of ordinary people struggling to survive. I loved the concept of trying to be "good" in a society that more often than not, made it very difficult. Beautiful book.
  • A must read for all humans

    5
    By Lissabw
    It is sometimes slogging, but mostly not. It is always a picture we want to look at and not look at. The portraits of the children are achingly touching. It is a brilliant portrayal of poverty at its most excruciating. There are so many aspects to this story, especially the contrast that is building between the haves and have nots in the twenty first century. It undeniably touching to the quick.
  • Behind the beautiful forevers

    5
    By Faccia13
    Outstanding and sobering. This jewel makes one aware of the outside world and its trials. Although one is grateful for OUR world, our society, our values, our judicial system, there is a rage that is ignited against the corruption and injustice portrayed, and an obsession to confront, fight and annihilate them.
  • Distant View

    4
    By Sierra Harper
    Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit Mumbai on business, not unlike I had done over the decades to about 35 other countries. The depth of the apparent poverty in Mumbai was unlike anything I had ever seen anywhere else. It was hard to believe that I was still on the same planet. This book gave me some insight into and appreciation of what I saw from a distance during my visit there. Thank you. Charles C Berghoff

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