This is the reading circle book on the Book Club Forum so this review will be a bit different.
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.
1. Who was your favourite character and why?
I think my favourite character was Salim. He was a constant companion and even when Ram left him he was forgiving when he came back and was always a friend. Alongside that, whatever corruption he saw, his dreams and his ideals were not shattered. He pursued him dream and saw victory.
2. Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?
There were two parts I disliked: the scene with the prostitute in hospital is the first one. Ram really wanted to save her and love her but due to her brother he couldn’t do that. He was blamed for what someone else did to her and it made me sad that his good intentions were wasted. The second part I disliked was the orphan kids who were maimed to make money. I thought that was just horrible.
I really liked the description of the Taj Mahal however. How the building takes on different characters throughout the day and how it looked in the moonlight when Ram was told he was loved. It sounded breathtaking and was just wonderful to read.
3. Was this the first book you’ve read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?
This is not the first book in this genre I have read. It reminded me of White Tiger, which I also enjoyed. I found it fascinating genre – learning about other cultures: the poverty, the triumphs and the politics.
4. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?
I think for me, the coincidences which led him to know all the answers seemed unreal to me but it did make for a good read. I struggled a bit with the names and I sometimes didn’t know where I was in his lifetime and how old he was.
5. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?
Yes it was. I enjoyed this book and didn’t find it a hard read. I would recommend this to others and I definitely preferred the book to the film.
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