Monday, October 26, 2015

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Balram Halwai grew up as just a poor boy living in a rural Indian village with his large family but he soon grows tired of the poverty, tradition, and disease of his hometown and relocates to New Delhi where he finds work as a chauffeur for a wealthy businessman.  In his new job he experiences classism and corruption as never before and after his master forces Balram to take responsibility for a death he didn’t cause, he quickly turns bitter and disillusioned.  Balram commits a horrible crime and flees to Bangalore, where he creates a new life for himself.

The novel provides an honest and realistic view of the brutalities of the class struggle in modern-day India.  The author’s dark humor, frankness, and vivid descriptions of Balram’s adventures make this book an entertaining and enlightening read that taught me more about everyday life in India than anything else.  Though it did take a little while for the storyline to get going, once it did I quite literally could not put it down.  The White Tiger is playful and sarcastic with serious topics but overall informative and eye-opening: a must-read for anyone interested in learning about India’s role as a nation steeped in the traditional caste system while trying to find its place in a globalized world.

If you are interested about learning more about life in the poorest parts of Southeast Asia, check out Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo and Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Imagine waking up in a world you don’t remember;  people call themselves your ‘family’ but you have no idea who they are. Who is Jenna Fox? She has only been told that that is her name and this is her life. Experience Jenna unravel clues and uncover disturbing information about the circumstances surrounding an accident. After waking up from a coma, her family shows her old home movies and tells her about her life. Things just don’t seem to add up; memories that come back in flashes seem unconnected to her present life. And the accident? Jenna’s parents aren’t too keen to discuss the details. “Car crash,” is all she knows. Logic tells her she shouldn’t have survived, so how is she standing here today?

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson is a riveting novel following Jenna’s recovery. The first book in a series titled The Jenna Fox Chronicles talks about what it’s like to completely lose your memory, trust a family who you know is keeping things from you, and regain a normal life after a devastating accident.