I have put away writing this review for months, because I couldn't figure out how I felt about this book. I loved reading it. I did. But I am also not entirely satisfied with legitimacy of it.
It basically comes down to one big problem I had with it - it's written by a very privileged, very white woman, who may or may not have any business writing a non-fiction book about Mumbai.
But people can write books about whatever they want despite who they are or where they are from. Very true. It doesn't always have to be own voices book, it doesn't.
But I kept thinking "what if it was?". What if a person who's actually seen these things, felt these things wrote a book like that? How much more emotional would that have been? How much more real, more truthful and with that terrifying it could have been.
Because I know I should have felt things. The atrocities I've read about in this book should have stirred something in me, but they didn't. I felt like an observer, and not a participant. I was appalled, yes, but I wasn't indignant, or angry. And I sure as hell should have been.
When I was reading the book I couldn't honestly tell that the author wasn't intimately and personally familiar with all of those things. I didn't know that the author was not of color. I didn't know that the author wrote her whole book based on research from the library, because she decided that a trip to Mumbai would affect her weak health too much. All of that came from the author's note. And all of that killed the book a little.
I applaud Katherine Boo for writing a truthful post word and explaining herself. I do. I applaud her writing skills and for making me feel like she knew what she was doing. And I think she did. But, an important story like this deserves more than just a library research. It deserves a stronger voice. A voice that demands justice, not only a voice that tells a story.