Year 7, Book 19

19. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
I had a really odd experience reading this book in that until I got to the very end of the book and read the author notes I thought I was reading a work of fiction, when in fact the book is a non-fictional account of people living in a small section of Mumbai just on the other side of the wall from the airport. When thinking it was a work of fiction I only moderately liked the book, but upon realizing that it was non-fiction I changed my assessment. Problems I had with how things were written suddenly didn’t make sense in light of it being factually based so all of a sudden those issues disappeared. I do wonder how I would have felt while reading it knowing that it was non-fiction going in, but I’ll never know.

All that being said it’s definitely an enlightening and often heartbreaking look at life in a difficult place where people are trying to get ahead in a corrupt system that continuously breaks them down even when they are trying to take advantage of it. I also love where the author came up with the title, but I won’t spoil it by telling you. You’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. I give it a 7 out of 10.

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