April’s choice proved a popular one because we all love a good story, don’t we? It would certainly be difficult not to fall in love with the enthralling tale of Indian-born Saroo Brierley.
Saroo tells his story in an accessible and engaging manner; he doesn’t try to pass himself off as anything more than he is - a man with a story to share.
The central image of a lost child is immediately affecting. Surrounded by the confusion and chaos of one of the world’s busiest train stations- all noise and bustle and fumes-a little boy stands alone, eyes wide with fear. That no one would stop and pay attention to his pleas for help seemed unimaginable to us and yet it happened. It happens, I should say, with a frightening regularity. Maybe not here (I’m loathe to throw out phrases like the First World or Developed World) but our ‘here’ is a very small place in reality.
The portrayal of Saroo’s early childhood is honest and thankfully he neither patronises nor shames the reader about the events that befell him. The pace may falter at times but that’s forgivable.
Family is very much at the heart of this book. As a group, we enjoyed sharing stories of our own childhood memories and some swapped parenting stories- we looked at what was deemed acceptable years ago compared to today and it made for an interesting discussion. Ideas concerning adoption, religion, technology all have a role to play in the text too, there’s plenty of food for thought.
‘What if’ will cross your mind at least a dozen times in the opening section alone, you won’t be able to help yourself.
As an added bonus, you can catch the film which was a big hit last year.
Next up for the Books@One book club is ‘The Luminaries’, a novel, by Eleanor Catton. Catton’s second novel won the Man Booker prize for 2013 and is set in Victorian New Zealand. Her original depiction of the gold rush era made her the youngest ever winner of the prestigious prize.
Hopefully we will have found a treasure of our own in our choice for May! Both books are available for purchase in store.