BOOK REVIEWS

Lion: A Long Way Home Young Readers' Edition Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-22 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0425291766
LANGUAGE:English

"This book tells an amazing story. There is simply no other way to describe it. It is the real-life story of Saroo, a five-year-old child in a village in central India, who gets lost and finds himself transported all the way east to Calcutta, some 1800 kms away. Young Saroo, all of five, penniless and illiterate, does not even know the name of his village and knows little else about where he was from. He gets off at the bustling, crowded Howrah train station and survives for six weeks in the intimidating bad and mean streets of Calcutta by his instincts and luck. He ends up at a benevolent orphanage called ISSA, where the kindly Ms.Saroj Sood - tries to find his family and re-unite him. But all Saroo can tell was that he was from Ginestlay, which is what he remembered as his village's name. He also mistakenly says that he travelled just overnight by train when in reality he had travelled almost 24 hours to get to Calcutta. After a couple of moths' futile effort, Mrs.Sood pronounces him 'lost' and organizes him to be adopted by Sue and John Brierley, a young couple from Tasmania, Australia.

Saroo is lovingly brought up by the Brierleys and he grows up into a happy and well-integrated Aussie over the next 20 years. However Saroo always wonders about his origins, with clear memories of his birth mother Kamala, his kid sister Shekila and elder brothers Kallu and Guddu, whom he looked up to as a child two decades before. He starts working on trying to find where he was from by using the feeble memories of his childhood. All he had to go by was that there was a train station whose name was something like 'Berampur' , that it had a water tower, an overpass across the tracks and that the town had a fountain near a cinema. His village 'Ginestlay' was somewhere nearby and that they were all reachable overnight by train from Calcutta. Gradually, over five years, with incredible patience and perseverance , Saroo, at age 30, using Google Earth's satellite images and Facebook, miraculously locates the train station with the identifying features of his childhood. He notes that a nearby town is called Khandwa and that there is a Facebook group belonging to people from Khandwa. He contacts them and gets the key info that there is a nearby village called Ganesh Talai - the 'Ginestlay' of 5-year-old Saroo! Saroo soon goes to India and reconnects with his birth family to the great delight of his elderly mother Kamala and his siblings Shekila and Kallu, who are now married with children. Sadly, Guddu, his eldest brother whom he adored as a child, was killed in an accident just on the same day that Saroo got lost 25 years before. Otherwise, it is a happy resolution for Saroo.

Not only Saroo, but his Aussie parents, Sue and John as well, come off as wonderful, loving and caring parents and individuals. Sue herself was a WWII refugee from Hungary and her story is also inspring as told it in the book. Saroo's birth mother Kamala is another remarkable woman, who never gave up hope that her son Sheru (which is his correct name!) would return one day. Hence she never moved from the shack where she lived so that she will be there when Saroo comes back! The other heroes in the book are the internet, Google Earth and Facebook! It is a great tribute to these wonderful technologies which make it possible for the adult Saroo to sit ten thousand miles away in Hobart, Australia and exactly locate the water tower and overpass of his childhood memory and find out the correct name of his village. Let no one denounce technology again!

I found the book moving, inspirational and one of hope and the indomitable spirit of the humankind. It is a story of triumph against great odds. Going through the early chapters where Saroo survives for six weeks as a five-year-old in Calcutta, I had palpitations as I felt anxious that nothing terrible should befall young Saroo! The book also has a special appeal for me since I grew up in India and lived for 13 years in wonderful Australia.
" said.

"I really liked the first quarter of the book when he recollected his experiences as a boy in India. I love memoirs and this was right up my alley. The rest of the book was about his doubts and feelings of depression and his confusion and blah blah blah. It drove me crazy. He grew up in a beautiful, good family in Australia and the story of his adoption as a 5 yr. old was fascinating. But reading about his obsessive search for his family for over 100 pages was awful--he did all of his searching on google maps. So he told about how he spent hours every evening scouring all of India for a familiar landmark. Over. And Over. And Over. Then reading about how he felt about everything for another 50 pages was not fun, so I eventually stopped. :) Also, it wasn't very well written.

So: Really cool story, but it could have been told with just as much content and umph in about 60 pages.
" said.

"Getting excited about the movie's imminent release, it was only when I watched an extended interview with Saroo and his mum on TV last week that I decided I needed to read the book before I see the Hollywood version of Saroo's story. I wanted to make sure I was clear on what really happened.

Because this is a truly remarkable story, and you have to think that the universe really was working hard to look after this little boy - the 5yo Sheru - and deliver him safely to a new life. It's so remarkable that it really doesn't need any embellishment, but we will wait and see what happens on the big screen. As for the book itself, I thought it was a detailed and competent account, giving us all the (known) facts and some insight to the emotions and private thoughts of Saroo and other close relatives. What I feel it lacked was a bit of 'colour' (i.e. of the landscape), considering Saroo's story plays out in India and Tasmania. I guess that's what I'll most look forward to in the movie.

Overall I thought this was a satisfying memoir.
" said.

"A Long Way Home - I am so pleased that I finally read this book, and that I did so before watching the movie.
What an amazing story of not only survival, resilience and the will to stay safe set amidst the poverty and havoc of everyday life in India, but also a beautiful tale of the love given to both a small boy and then a grown man by both Saroo’s Australian parents and that of his family in India.
It is incredible to follow Saroo’s journey and you can only believe that his destiny was indeed in the hands of fate and the gods. His travels, survival, help from some good people resulting in his adoption by such a loving Australian family and then re-uniting with his family after so many years, left me sometimes in tears and often shaking my head at how events played out over his lifetime.
I loved the way he wrote about both his parents’ love and unbending support here in Australia complemented by his Indian mother’s strong belief that he would one day return to her.
The story of Saroo’s 'Long Way Home’ will stay with me and I feel uplifted by reading such a sad but beautiful and ultimately joyous story.

" said.

"ARC received from NetGalley via ShelfAwareness.

An interesting and touching story, hampered by lack of authorial skill.

I'd not heard about Saroo Brierley's journey to find his family, the announcement of this book was the first I learned about his unusual life experiences. The tale is quite interesting, uplifting and positive, but the writing style was grammatically far too simple. There were few compound or complex sentences, which meant the book had little rhythm and was difficult to immerse myself in.

Already on the Australian market for a year, I received a digital galley of the American version. At the end a map was included, but the formatting for my ARC was clearly off, which was unfortunate as I'd have been interested to see the journey on the map. Including it is therefore a good idea, I'm certain for print copies and publication ebooks the formatting will be correct. I don't know if any photos are included in the publication versions, there are none in the ARC (in the beginning of the text a reference is made to the cover photo, which my ARC did not have, but no other photo references are made), and I think they would help the story come alive, though I recognize that it could be a real invasion of privacy for some involved parties.

Overall, I'd give this a soft recommendation. It was a quick, enjoyable story that you know starting out ends well. I can only wish the writing mechanics had more depth to them.
" said.

"An amazing story and a bit mind boggling really when you think about everything that happened to Saroo (I had a suspicion about what had happened to his brother). Add that to him surviving on the streets and how everything eventually turned out for him... very lucky he was.

The writing was so-so, not everyone is a natural writer (which is fine, we all have our strengths) though *shrugs* It didn't bring the experience down for me but I didn't enjoy it like I thought I would. It almost felt like reading a long news article in a way. Near the end pages, I had to push myself finish it.

Still interested in watching the movie one day.

Story: 4 stars

Writing: 2 stars
" said.

"This story was amazing and what's more IS it's not a work of fiction, it's TRUE! I have a strong love for non-fiction when stories like this come across as 'one in a million' chances!

I'm sure everyone has mucked around with Google Earth at some point in their life? Have you known someone who shows super strong interest in it? I do. Saroo used this technology to find his family after years and years of never knowing if he'll ever see his true biological family again. From India to Tasmania,Australia this is a true story worth picking up! You get a glimps into his life as a child in India from when he lived with his family to when he got separated from his brother at the train station on that dreadful day that would change his life for ever. Then the story catches up to the now and how he uses Google Earth to track down things he remembers from his fuzzy childhood memories.

There was a few things I thought could of been left out as it kinda prolonged things but it didn't bother me that much.
" said.

"تو صفحه اول کتاب وقتی همراه سارو جلوی در اون خونه ایستاده بودم، حس می‌کردم فقط با خوندن همین صفحه تک تک سلول‌هام و سرتاسر روحم غرق احساسه...
تمام وجودم می لرزید از شدت هیجان و احساس تو اون لحظه...
حتی فکرشم نمی‌کردم... صفحات کافیه یکم جلوتر برن تا من چندین برابر بیشتر از تمام حسی که تو صفحات اول تجربه کردم بودم رو احساس کنم...
سرتاسر این کتاب حس کردنه...
ذره ذره با با تمام وجودت سارو شدنه...
عمق چیزی که من با این کتاب حس کردم با کلمات قابل بیان نیست...
خوندن این کتاب برابره با زندگی کردن به جای سارو... ساروی پنج ساله که از خانواده‌ش جدا میشه... سارو تو خیابون‌های کلکته... سارو با خانواده‌ی جدیدش... سارو تو سی سالگی وقتی معنای زندگیش پیدا کردن دوباره مادر و خواهر و برادراش بود...

دو تا شخصیت توی این کتاب واقعا خاص بودن لوسی و کاملا... دو تا زنی که مادرای زندگی سارو بودن...
کاملا که من نمیتونم عمق احترامم رو برای همچین مادری با هیچ کلامی بیان کنم... مادری که با تمام وجودش برای بچه‌هاش تلاش میکنه... شاید این غریزه‌ی مادریه و من درکش نمی‌کنم... و شاید در حال حاضر هزاران هزار مادر تو دنیا دارن درست مثل کاملا برای بچه‌هاشون تلاش می‌کنن...
و همین‌طور سو... زنی که مادر دومی برای سارو میشه... قصه این زن یکی از زیباترین بخش‌های این کتاب بود... مادر بودن فقط به معنی این نیست که فقط یه بچه رو متولد کنی... مادر بودن خیلی فراتر از این حرفاست... و سو اینو با زیباترین صورت ممکن به نمایش میذاره... زنی که تصمیم گرفت برای بچه‌های دنیا مادری کنه...

این کتاب شاید امیدی باشه برای خیلی از بچه‌های گمشده تو دنیا... ولی شاید یه تلنگری هم باشه برای ما که حواسمون باشه... که فقط صدهزار بچه‌ی بی‌خانمان تو خیابون‌های کلکته زندگی می‌کنن... بچه‌هایی که هرگز بچگی نمی‌کنن... بچه هایی که گرسنه‌ان... بچه‌هایی که جایی ندارن... کسی رو ندارن... و خیلی‌هاشون قبل از اینکه یاد بگیرن چطور باید زنده بمونن می‌میرن... این کلکته‌س... لازم نیست ما حتما تا کلکته بریم... ولی چقدر از اطرافمون خبر داریم؟

دوازده شهریور هزار و سیصد و نود و شش
03 September 2017

" said.

July 2018 New Book:

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