New York: Random House, 2012
Reading Katherine Boo’s Pulitzer Prize winning Behind the Beautiful Forevers leaves one’s mind and heart shaken and changed. Her thick and intense description of people striving to survive a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport in India reads like a gripping novel that is all too real in its tale of poverty and depredation, of human frailty and strength. On every page you’ll find the makings of a tragedy but also glimmers of possibilities for surviving tragedy. And on every page you’ll learn from Boo’s unsentimental empathy and insight how to think with respect about the hard and complex condition of life under terrible stress. You’ll leave the book equipped with her deep insights into how people survive alongside one another in an era and place of tumultuous change. And you’ll leave amazed at the writer’s commitment to getting the story right by living within it and rendering it in pitch perfect prose.
This book has been chosen for the On the Same Page program for 2015, which means that each new student will receive a copy over the summer to read in preparation for the author’s visit and other program activities in the fall.