Behind the ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’


Behind the ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’

Northeastern University saw Katherine Boo speak about her book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003. The students and the other members of the Northeastern Community heard her resourceful insights about the people, places, and inequalities in India. India is actually the inspiration behind her book.


The book was included in the University’s reading program, ‘First Pages’. The program usually needs the students to select a challenging book to read, which will essentially shed light on the critical question facing today’s students. The book’s author, Boo, has worked at The Washington Post and has gotten a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. Not only that, but her book also has won the 2012 National Book Award in the non-fiction category. The plot tells the readers about people living in Annawadi. It is a slum in Mumbai and surrounding it are luxury hotels.


Boo explained why this book would be a big help for around 2800 first-year students reading the book. “This is a great school,” she told them. “One of the things that are great about it is your professors and administrators are serious about educating you in a global context.”


Boo decided to write this book after she met her now-husband, Sunil Khilnani. It had something to do with the fact that she was spending more time in India. On asking specifically about her works, she said, “My own work starts from questions. Questions that won’t leave me be.”


Boo was puzzled by the contrasting phenomena in Mumbai. Firstly, Mumbai has proper efficient hospitals, however, it has a poor life expectancy. The records there show that technically, no one is poor yet, half of the Mumbaikars live in slums. The whys of these facts led Boo to think about it. Boo was judged by the teenagers and other people of Annawadi she followed. However, after a while, they got used to her, as she got used to them.


The people in the book helped her a lot, co-investigating with her to find where the roots of corruption and inequality. Upon being asked about the reviews of her book in India, Boo assured that it was received willingly, categorised as ‘real’ by people in Mumbai.


“I worked really hard to get it published simultaneously in the United States and India,” she said. “It was not to be a book published in the west about India.”


Pranjali Wakde

pranjali wakde

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