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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 March 2008
I read this book some years ago and it is the only book I have ever given 5 stars to. Lending it to friends I seem to have lost it in the mists of time so I shall buy it again, read it before suggesting it to our book club.
It left me feeling totally inadequate and full of admiration for people who give their lives to helping others. It took me a while to read another book because I could not get this one out of my head. A must read book!
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on 23 July 2009
I've just finished this book and thought it was quite good but nothing more. I felt it went off on random journeys at times but overall it was good - the second half in particular when the main characters met. The afterword was very moving to see the effect the book has had on the slum of Anand Nagar and its definately made me want to get involved in anyway I can help.
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on 14 May 2016
Won't finished reading the book yet, enjoying it so far.
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on 1 April 2015
Best book ever! It changes your perspective on life!
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on 12 November 2015
No review necessary,well written and very enjoyable.
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on 9 September 2014
No, I did not like this verbose text about trivia
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on 22 February 2010
It can be difficult to present a non-fiction work as a novel and I do not think Monsieur Lapierre has quite pulled it off. The book struggles to sit comfortably into its genre making for a difficult read. The characters jump in and out of the narrative amidst chunks of history which read as though they have been copied straight from research.

I am well aware of poverty, having been brought up in the midst of it, but I cannot understand why people assume that their destiny is to be poor because they had been something other than perfect in a previous life and that they will reap the rewards of their misery in the next. I am guessing that religion was invented to make sense of the world - i.e. why the sun comes up - when man first became aware of his existence, but over time it has become a way of controlling the thinking of the masses. Why else would a father give bananas to a god and let his children starve, or spend much needed rupees on wood to burn the dead?

Stephen Kowalski was my least favourite person as I felt he was looking for some way to be nearer to his own god and using the poor as a stepping stone. He quotes in the book, "My ambition was primarily to give them confidence in themselves, so that they would feel less abandoned and want to undertake actions to improve their own lot". In truth, he was talking about his personal ambition. He almost achieved martyrdom when he refused to be treated for cholera - until he was forced to change his mind by the French hierarchy. I expect he was miffed about that. I felt he was exploiting the poor the same way as those who took baksheesh.

The poor of Anand Nagar do not need our pity as they do not pity themselves. They help each other when they can and are thankful for what they have. This is prevalent among the poor all over the world regardless of race or creed. I am a witness to that. I believe that if you live your life honestly and strive to be the best that you can and at the same time love and embrace your family and friends then there is no need to read this book as you will have a natural empathy with the characters. If you do not, then there are lessons to learned.

I would have liked a more detailed analysis of why places like Anand Nagar still exist and who should be held accountable; the British Raj or independent India. Perhaps that is another book.
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on 28 July 2014
Very good book - thoroughly enjoyable
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on 14 April 2016
Great read
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on 9 October 2014
Good read
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