America is a wonderful country, granted a politically and environmentally troubled one. Many Americans live below the poverty line, and many more are living pay-check-to-pay-check and just getting by. We care about humans living in dire conditions in other countries, but distantly. We have a dim picture in our minds of Sally Struthers on television infomercials, holding babies with flies on their faces.
Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter Katherine Boo gives real faces and names to people living in, and raising themselves out of, the slums in Mumbai, India. Boo spent the years between November 2007 and March 2011 gathering footage and immersing herself in the lives of the families living in Annawadi, a slum two-hundred yards off the Sahar Airport road in Mumbai. Boo gives shape to their lives with compassion, and a keen eye for the human experience. She explores the social, political and economic causes of poverty in India, and exposes the vast inequalities looming in the rapidly developing country.
This is an important book, and a beautiful example of the power of stories: We may feel our narrative is the most important one, but Boo turns the telescope outwards and shows us the fabric our tiny story threads into.