Akua Kwakwa told me to read this book, which I did, and just finished like…NOW. (Thanks, Akua. You rock.)
Author: Vikas Swarup.
This book is AMAZING.
Quick synopsis: It’s about an eighteen-year-old boy who enters a game show to win money by answering twelve questions which he happens to know the answers to because of the kind of life he’s lived since birth.
The main character, Ram Mohammad Thomas is probably one of the most pure-hearted characters I have ever met. I wonder if people like him exist in real life. I actually hope they don’t. He’s been through too much in life, and if you think your life is hard after reading this book, I suspect you have a very, VERY serious problem. He’s seen life and he’s seen humans for what they are, and somehow, despite all the drudgery he has been exposed to, all the apathy, his heart is white.
It bothered me, the amount of tragedy in this book. At some point, I was just like ‘It’s okay, can’t he have a Happily Ever After now?’ But the game show went on.
A lot of people have seen the movie. I saw it the year it came out, at the Silverbird Cinema at Accra Mall. I cried then. But the movie is NOT the same as the book. The book is so much more real. It’s so scary, how real it is. I remember there was even a part in the book where Ram watched a Neelima Kumari movie and was disappointed at how real-life the movies was, because what was the point of watching something you experienced everyday? The disturbing part: this movie was a tragedy.
Reading about torture makes me uneasy. I have a very visual imagination. Needless to say, I was disturbed my practically seventy percent of the book. But Vikas Swarup has a very twisted sense of humour. Sometimes you know you should probably be sad, but you just start laughing. And Ram’s commentaries, and the phrases he repeats are just utterly HILAROUS, even in the most dire situations. This boy is also probably one of the wisest characters I have ever encountered. And (emphasis on this one) he’s never been to school! It’s strange and disturbing at the same time to think that he learned all that he knows just from LIFE, and how he learned it is even more painful.
Somehow, this book is beautiful. I can’t find a genre for it. Comedy? Tragedy? (Mostly tragedy) Romance? The unlikeliness of it all, making it almost farcical.
So um…If you’ve watched the movie and you think it’s enough, it’s not. Go and read the book.
A few of my favourite quotes:
“After all, a quiz is not so much a test of knowledge as a test of memory.”
And I like this because it’s true.
“Unheralded we came into this world. Unheralded we will go out. But while we are in this world, we do such deeds that even if this generation does not remember, the next generation cannot forget.”
I’ve been preaching this for years.
“You men are all the same. One look at a woman’s tits and all your morals go out of the window.”
This made me laugh.
“Real life is very different from reel life.”
Yes, yes it is.
“You must have heard of Shakespeare?’
-Yours Literarily (I only found out this was a word after I typed it right now),