Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup

No. of pages: 361
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: Former tiffinboy Ram Mohammad Thomas has just got twelve questions correct on a TV quiz-show to win a cool one billion rupees. But he is brutally slung in prison on suspicion of cheating. Because how can a kid from the slums know who Shakespeare was, unless he is pulling a fast one. In the order of the questions on the show, Ram tells us which amazing adventures in his street-kid life gave him the answers. From orphanages to brothels, gangsters to beggar-masters, and into the homes of Bollywood's rich and famous, Ram's story is brimming with the chaotic comedy, heart-stopping tragedy and tear-inducing joyousness of modern India.

Review: When Ram wins the top prize - a billion rupees - on a tv quiz show, he is immediately arrested for cheating, for how could a poor boy from the slums of India possibly know the answers?! Through each chapter of the novel, Ram recounts each story behind how he knew the answer to the questions he was asked, ultimately making him the luckiest person alive.

I've been interested in reading this ever since the hype around the movie started, so I finally got around to buying it last month and decided to read it as part of my 'around the world' challenge. I'm so incredibly glad I finally picked it up, it was absolutely nothing how I imagined it to be. I had actually heard a lot of bad things about the book, and also heard that the movie was a lot better, so I went into it kind of thinking that it would be just an okay read, but I ended up really enjoying it. The writing is so vivid, that you can actually imagine the scene that's being created, and that's not always easy to do, especially with a foreign culture that you don't really know a whole lot about. I really liked the way the book was set out, with each chapter telling the story of how he knew the answer to that particular quiz question, although I found the author sometimes forgot to place the memory in time, so it was a little confusing as to how old Ram was supposed to be, but I managed to piece most of it together in the end. I loved the character of Ram, I thought that considering the awful life he'd had, he was just so kind and generous, especially as people were always trying to hurt him or take advantage of him. Slumdog Millionaire (originally named Q&A) is an unflinching look at the underbelly of India, and I think it's fantastically written, especially when you consider this is a debut novel. Recommended to people interested in the Indian culture, or just looking for an unusual, interesting story to read.


Whitney said...

I read this last year and really enjoyed it too. It's so different from the movie. Thanks for hopping by my blog, I'm returning the favor. Have a great weekend!

Sara said...

Awesome review! I watched the movie and LOVED it. I had no idea there was even a book, I'll definitely be checking it out :D

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