23 May, 2014

A long way home / Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose [Clare Kitt, Massey Library]

http://www.syndetics.com/index.php?isbn=9780670077045/lc.jpg&client=elgar&type=hw7As a young boy of only five, Saroo was out with his older brother in India. His brother was working on the railways, and meant to be taking care of him while he worked. Only somehow they became separated. Saroo tried to find his brother, but couldn't and boarded a train, thinking it would take him back home. But it didn't. It took him to a huge and frightening, completely unfamiliar city, Kolkata (Calcutta).

For seven weeks he survived on the streets of Kolkata, meeting people who helped him and some who meant him harm. Eventually, he was taken in by an orphanage and within weeks was adopted by a childless couple in Tasmania, Australia. He then found himself on an plane, together with his orphan friends, winging his way to a whole new life.

He tells how his Mum in Tasmania listened to his story and helped him draw a map and write down his recollections of where he'd come from, while they were still fresh in his mind. He never forgot his mother and brothers and sisters and the home he'd lived in until he was five.

Many years later, he decided to try and search for his home town using Google Earth. His wonderful Australian parents had kept his culture alive for him, eating the foods he'd grown up with, and encouraging him in his search.

This is a wonderful true story about love and family and childhood and determination. The picture on the cover shows a little lost boy, clutching a bar of chocolate, his very first. Starting from a life of poverty and deprivation he moved to a world of free education and privilege. But no matter what the circumstances of your family, love knows no bounds. 

A wonderful read.  

Author: Saroo Brierley
Publisher: Melbourne, Vic. : Viking, 2013.
ISBN: 9780670077045 (paperback).

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