Book review : Lion – A long way home
written by Saroo Brierley, published by Boekerij
genre memoires / non-fiction, 233 pages
I think nothing beats a well meant and warm recommendation. A while ago when I was having a look at the cover of this book, the girl from the bookshop started telling me all about Saroo and his remarkable story. She said that the story, while telling me, gave her goosebumps all over again. That’s when I knew I had to get to know this story too, and after reading the book, I had to see the movie. Such an incredible story, a story that just has to be told!
The story in short
It’s 1986 when Saroo’s life takes a dramatic turn. By accident the 5 year old boy ends up on a train that takes him to Kolkata, a city of millions on the other side of India. Owning nothing but the clothes he’s wearing, not knowing where he came from or even his family’s name, the little boy is lost. Lost in a city he doesn’t know, lost in a language he doesn’t speak, lost from his family, everyone and everything he’s ever known.
Against all odds the boy manages to survive the dangers of the city and after a few weeks he finds shelter under de wings of Saroj Sood, a woman who works for ISSA. After several failed attempts to find back the boy’s family, Saroj asks him whether it’s okay if she gives him up for adoption and only a few weeks later Saroo can start a new life, in a new home, with a new family, in a new country on the other side of the world.
Although Saroo’s grateful for all the opportunities that his new life has given him, he can never forget about his Indian family. All those years, he’s determined to find them back some day. He just has to let his mother, his brothers and little sister know that he misses them, and that he is doing fine.
As soon as he finds out about Google Earth, with its endless possibilities to travel all over our planet and discover all kinds of places, Saroo just keeps on searching all across his immense home country, until he finally finds back what he’s been looking for all those years.
“My mother described her reactions better than I ever could mine:
she said she was “surprised with thunder” that her boy had come back,
and that the happiness in her heart was “as deep as the sea”.”
― Saroo Brierley, A Long Way Home
Why you should read this book
Although I’m afraid I might have given away a bit too much, the book tells so much more than just the facts of this incredible adventure. In the book Saroo really tells us all about the dangers, insecurities, the happiness and sadness he had to deal with all his life. Even the movie captures this story in a beautiful way. So in case you’re not much of a reader I can warmly recommend to watch the movie instead (see the trailer below). Saroo’s story will either way touch you, it’s a story about determination, a story that celebrates the importance to never let go of hope.
For more information about Saroo, his book or the movie, have a look at saroobrierley.com.
*picture used for header; still from the movie Lion.