“I literally could not put this book down…[Saroo’s] return journey will leave you weeping with joy and the strength of the human spirit”



Saroo Brierly accounts in this memoir, a poignant tale of love and loss. The book is not long and yet the prose is thorough.  This is a tale so incredible; it will force your heart to dabble with a full spectrum of human emotions from hope to horror, from anger to love, from frustration to fulfillment. It isn’t a cause and effect kind of story, it is a cause and effect and its aftereffects kind of story, like a pebble thrown in a pond causing ripples all around. A five-year-old poverty ridden, illiterate boy gets lost in Kolkata, one of the biggest cities in the world, miles away from his home, a limited vocabulary and vague knowledge do not turn out to be helpful, somehow he saves himself from sex traffickers, organ harvesters and animals, and ends up in an orphanage, where an Australian couple decides to adopt him. The ripples seem so far and wide, as if it would impossible to trace back to the central plop that the pebble created. The truth, however, is meant to be uncovered and almost twenty years later, with the advent of internet and google earth, is any question too difficult to be answered and is any place too hard to find? This book in some ways is a tribute to modern technology.

Sue, Saroo’s adopted mother, herself was a WWII refugee from Hungary and her story is in itself pretty stirring, as told in the book. Saroo’s birth mother Kamala is another remarkable woman, who never gave up hope that her son would one day return. Hence, she never moved from the shack where she lived so that she will be there when Saroo comes back!

This life story involves impossible odds, incredible love, and sheer determination, that is not only a journey across thousands of kilometers to find home, but also an emotional road through terrible memories and gut-wrenching losses. This story pulls you in and never lets go.

What makes this book so remarkable and inspiring isn’t Saroo’s union with his real mother rather quality of this reunion. There is certain adulation due for the way Brierley processed and portrayed his relationship with his two families. He honored and loved them both. The exhibition of tenacity, resolve and grace in his search for his birth family and his devotion towards his adopted family fills the reader up. It is nothing short of a glorious. This, quite simply, is one of the most fascinating books, the kind of book that one can’t really put down.


Reviewed by:

Naman Bhardwaj

Added 22nd January 2020