Reader reviews and comments on Behind the Beautiful Forevers, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

By Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Feb 2012,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2014,
    288 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 4 of 5
There are currently 34 reader reviews for Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Anne B. (Carson City, NV) (01/05/12)

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers
There have been a few books in my life that have stayed with me since I read them, for instance, To Kill a MockingBird, Angela's Ashes, and now I will add Beyond the Beautiful Forevers to the list. It seems the books that stay in my mind and move me always involve poverty and social injustice, whether fiction or non-fiction. Katherine Boo is a wonderful writer and clearly brings the inhabitants of Annawadi and their environs to life. If I could have given this book an excellent rating I would have because it is just that good and I think it is important reading, especially for Americans.
Jacquelyn H. (Blanco, TX) (01/05/12)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers tells a fantastic story of Mumbai. It is narrative non-fiction and is written in the past tense that does not allow the reader to connect with the characters emotionally. The overuse of forms of "to be" became annoying as the book progressed. Stronger verbs please. Still, the story fascinates even though I was disappointed at not becoming emotionally involved with the characters. Other reviewers have touted other praises of Boo's book. They are right.
This book is definitely worth reading.
Barbara H. (Richmond, IN) (01/05/12)

Behind the Beautiful Forever
Behind the Beautiful Forever is a factual narrative of some families and individuals living in Anniwadi, a slum in the Indian city of Mumbai. The names of the characters, the events are all actual, which is rather unusual in accounts of how people live.

It is a story aided by events that provide a dramatic plot that is resolved in the end. At the same time it is a picture of life eked through the resourcefulness of individuals in a dismal location.

Katherine Bo is a reporter; therefore the work is detailed, and she is wise in her choice of detail. As a writer she tells a story that is not created. Saying that it is a pleasant read is difficult because existence in Annawadi is not easy. However, the book is not simply a litany of poverty. The people are real and hopeful and resourceful.

I felt that some of the Q and A section should be used to create a prologue to prepare the reader more positively prior to reading. If the reader understands her point of view, the characters can be better appreciated. The book is one I am very glad I had the opportunity to read.
Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL) (01/03/12)

Strength of Humanity
This book shows that no matter how hard one's life is, there is one worse off. Conditions in India are deplorable and the author has put forth a very descriptive analysis of these conditions.
John W. (Clayton, Missouri) (01/03/12)

Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is perhaps the best book that I have read this past year. It is not only well written, but extremely well researched and informative on slum life in India (although the setting is outside Mumbai, it could take place anywhere). Many of the conditions of the slum dwellers apply to life in many developing countries (the inhumanity and challenge to simply exist), but her approach brings them to life beyond what I ever imagined and has changed the way I view the world.

I am not naive about the extent of corruption that takes place in any society, but the level of corruption that the author depicts in Annawadi appears to permeate every institution whether education, health care, the justice system, public utilities, drinkable water and disposal of raw sewage. Her gift for capturing the uniqueness of each inhabitant gives us a brief glimpse of how differently each individual approaches daily life, the varied ways they try to adjust to near impossible living conditions and survive in the poverty.

I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in India s well as anyone concerned about the plight of the poor. I've always been fascinated by the country and read numerous fictional books about all levels of society historically or present times. This book has presented me a whole new way of visualizing future stories I read and most importantly being thankful for my blessings.
Doris K. (Angora, MN) (12/31/11)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers
This is a "must read" for anyone who is interested in the true slum life of 21st century India.
Through the art of narrative nonfiction Katherine Boo makes the people who live in Annawadi, a slum near Mumbai, real as we learn about their struggle for survival. Rather than being depressing
she writes about how these people are trying to better themselves. Many strive for a good education. I thought it was a thought provoking, good book.
This book would promote a good discussion in a book club.
Christine B. (st. paul, MN) (12/30/11)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Wow! What an incredible look into the disparity of living in India. Katherine Boo did a wonderful job with her interviews of the people of Annawadi so that we get an absolute intimate look into their sordid lives. She also portrays the touches of humor, kindness, jealousy, and hope that encompass us all. The competitive spirt that abounds in Annawadi stunned me. This should be a must read for everyone!
Amber B. (East Sparta, OH) (12/28/11)

Katherine Boo’s Behind the beautiful forevers: life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity reads like fiction but is a remarkable account of several families that Boo followed intensely for several years. The stories she tells woke me up at night. It’s amazingly well-written but certainly heavy and overwhelming. Despite being well-read and reasonably well-traveled, it reminded me how little I still know about the rest of the world… and how we view each other. Books like this change your perspective and reminded me that everyone has a story… to look deeper… to not look away when I encounter something that is difficult. It reminded me how corrupt many places in the world are, how much more is needed than money. I will be thinking about this book for a long time!

Beyond the Book:

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"

    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  131Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.