Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

By Katherine Boo

  • Release Date: 2012-02-07
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4
From 494 Ratings


This enhanced eBook features exclusive video footage shot over the course of three years by the author and several children of the Annawadi slum.

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that 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 this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.
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 “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, 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 the good lives and 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.
With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.


  • Behind The Beautiful Forevers.

    By Libbyopk
    It took me awhile to finish this book. Very sad and depressing. I cried a lot.
  • Great book!

    By OG Snowflake
    Even if you think you wouldn't be interested in Indian poverty, I promise you will LOVE this book. Don't pass it up, it's really, really good. Best book I've read this year and I read non-stop.
  • Excellent

    By Jasv
    Excellent !!! Start it now.
  • Excellent

    By ckeene1952
    I could not put this book down. Excellent writing and terrific research bring these people and their plight to life through the writers stories. This is a MUST read. I can't wait for your next book.
  • Rings true

    By Phoetus is my nickname
    As an American who has spent time in India, I've always found it difficult to convey to other Westerners what India is like. They seem to want to think that it's like the poorer part of their town; they simply have no context within which to conceive of the differences that are reality on the ground in India. If there is way to convey that reality in print, this book might be it. This book almost smells like India. I particularly appreciated the fact that the author did not naively let the book deteriorate into a simpering pity-fest concluding with a liberal tax-and spend solution to the problem of poverty. The government corruption she reports provides a well-informed view of the power of government to deliver so-called "social justice". We in the West would do well to remove our rose-colored glasses. On the whole, it was both a measured and deliberate bit of reporting; and an incredibly hard-hitting good read.
  • Mind-expanding Must Read!

    By SweetThunder73
    I have been affected positively since reading this wonderful account of Annawadi. Katherine Boo did an excellent job writing this story. She must possess such bravery and candidness to extract the essential oil of Annawadian slum life so that a middle class Tennessee gal can understand what she is trying to convey. I found out about this book from a recommendation in a magazine. I'm so glad I decided to buy and read this book. I think more books like this should be required reading for today's youth and adults. The truth was ugly and hurt me to the core. Our culture demands and receives pretty packaged stories on t.v. Our culture really needs to see the effects of corruption on the most vulnerable citizens of this Earth, the poor and destitute. I'm so glad I was able to read this.
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers

    By Mteldred
    A poignant look into the very real lives of families struggling with poverty in Mumbai's slums. We get to see how each decision has life and death consequences. Recommended for those who want to learn and empathize with other cultures and those who have lost sight of how truly blessed our nation is.
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers

    By CSCin
    Interesting story.
  • A wake up call

    By Cag O'fer
    The struggle of a people to make a way for themselves amidst a corrupt society, government, without the aid of charities or proper schooling. Hopeless yet at the same time hopeful. Thank you Ms. Boo for this work of art.
  • Behind the beautiful forevers

    By Jrbdjdbj
    Conveys real emotion, tragic & inspirational. I'm left wondering what will become of Abdul.