Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hard to Read But Too Important Not To


Random House
$27.00 hardcover, available now

Reviewed by Richard, four horrfied, repulsed, politically appalled stars of five

The Book Report: I'll keep this short. Boo set out to tell the story of the cost that average Indians are paying for the rapid rise through the capitalist ranks that their country has embarked on. She chose as her lens the small tragedy (in the cosmic scheme of things) of a death and subsequent court case surrounding the death in Mumbai's slum called Annawadi.

Really and truly, this is all one needs to know; names, places, details aren't going to make this any easier to pre-process. One is best advised to enter into this book with little information about the events chronicled. It simply cannot be fathomed by those of us with thirty dollars to spend on a book, with access to a free public library, with an education sufficient to read the text, with lives so easy that we possess time to pass, as opposed to needs to meet, what this story will reveal. I will not steal Boo's thunder with a fuller report.

My Review: I hate this woman's writing. It feels so chilly and so removed from the subject that I can't believe how much praise this aspect of the text has received. It's the kind of gawdawful New Journalism crapola...get in the middle of the story, get all the juice and dirt, and then spew it back at a faux-objective remove...that I associate with Norman Mailer's terrible Executioner's Song, of unlamented memory.

The story is this generation's 12 Million Black Voices. It deserves so much more than it got from its author. It is, quite simply, necessary reading for free marketeers and libertarians and their misguided, often foolishly optimistic, ilk.

THIS IS WHAT REALLY HAPPENS IN YOUR TERRIBLE, UNFORGIVING, “COMMUNITY STANDARDS” WORLD. Read it. Recognize yourselves in the unseen overclass. Your tax-o-phobic refusal to recognize your duty to your fellow human beings leads directly to this world, its injustices and cruelties, its inhumane and indifferent treatment of the innocent-of-any-crime hoi polloi.

If you don't feel deep and humiliating PERSONAL shame after reading Boo's awful story, I fear you are a sociopath.

1 comment:

  1. In view of the comments here, I think I'll wait until I've dealt with a few more of my health problems before I involve myself in this.

    My life has not all been roses either. I was born south of Berlin in a small town which a lot of allied bombers overflew with an occasional bomb dropped, for more than a year. During the last year we were surrounded by the Russian army until my mother and her 15-year- old brother bundled me up and fled to the American sector; my mother was very good in English and French, an ability for languages that I inherited. My father fled from Russia himself, on at least one occasion fleeing from a Russian firing squad. About 5 years later, and with one more child, we emigrated to Canada. I became ill a year later and had to miss 3 full months and two half months of school, though no doctor could really diagnose my illness. I just had to stay home in bed, and the doc told us it as a viral lung infection. My life was definitely not as horrible as that of the victims in Mumbai, but what may have been after-effects of my early years may have affected my whole life. One serious problem was also lack of food. More or less, my mother subsisted on potato peels until we finally got out of eastern Germany just as the border to the west was being closed by the Russians. After that, food may not have been exactly plentiful, but we were able to survive. Because stories like this affect me quite a lot, I hope to get to the book soon, but not before a few of my problems are solved. P.S. I have already read a book about the terrible conditions in the slums there. It was about an Indian doctor the US who adopted a baby girl who would have been killed had she not been taken to a facility that helped the children there be adopted. It was a heart-breaking book. According to your definition, I guess I'm not a sociopath. Above all I feel great sorrow. I don't know if you've seen TV ads for the group Because I am a Girl. I'm supporting a girl there. I have no children of my own, but this is the fourth child I've sponsored personally, and my parents and siblings have sponsored others. I do have 6 great-nieces and -nephews.