· Written by Katherine Boo
· Genre: Society
· Published in August 2013
Have you ever heard of the small Indian town Annawadi? Annawadi is part of India’s largest city Mumbai where one-third of the poor people of the world live.
This book is about the 3000 people who live in Annawadi. While living in India for 4 years, the author, Katherine Boo, carried a notebook, recorder and camera and she recorded every little story. Finally she published this book based on these stories. The writer realistically shows the difficulty of life in Annawadi in this book.
In Annawadi only 6 people have regular jobs. The others make a living by collecting and selling junk or begging. Moreover, they sometimes make enough money to eat just one meal a day by selling what others throw away, but sometimes they don’t eat at all. In Annawadi, children are no exception. They have to help the family by collecting junk instead of going to school. People of Annwadi want to get out of there to earn money, but this is not easily done. The hopelessness is exacerbated by corruption and indifference. Even police officers and public officials don’t help these poor people; rather they demand money from them. Some people feel so hopeless that they take drugs and set themselves on fire because of poverty and pain, but the other people of Annawadi just do their work.
When people think about India, they think of curry, Hinduism, the Ganges River and Bollywood. This book doesn’t contain the things we usually imagine about India. In this book, the author tells us about people who eat with their left hands and work hard to get out of poverty instead of worshiping the cow. The writer changes people’s thinking about India through this book.
The area around Annawadi is completely different than the town itself. There are nice hotels and an international airport that dramatically conflict with Annawadi’s image. India has developed in a short period of time, constructing posh hotels and a huge airport in Mumbai, but we have to turn our eyes away from those places and take notice of poor villages like Annawadi. The writer compares the people of Annawadi with the tourists who stay in the beautiful hotels nearby, saying that tourists eat expensive meals with these people often eat nothing. Therefore, she emphasis peoples’ poor life in Annawadi.
Traveling is the best way to get to know any country. However, if you can’t do that, I recommend that you read this book. If you read this book, you will learn about India’s poor, unknown town Annawadi instead of the things commonly found in travel books.