Saturday, 6 December 2008

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Danielle has inspired me to write something about a book I read when I was travelling!

Its about a man who escapes from a prison in australia (he was a heroin addicted and armed robber). He travels to Inida where he meets a lot of people who he helps and who help him. But what I want to tell you about is a community who goes to live with in Bombay (you might know it as Mumbai where recently there has been terrorist attacks). He lives in a slum and he says it is the only place he can call home. The communtiy he describes is what I think a community should be like. There is a leader but he is a fair person, he rules by true democracy. All the people who live in the slum are in the same condition, they live in poverty and are at constant risk of their houses being burnt down or just falling down. But at the heart of this community is love. At one point a man who is very drunk is found to have beaten his wife nearly to death. The community rallied round and helped the woman but more amazing is how they dealt wit the man. He was punished severly as you would expect. The leader tells the man he will not drink ever again and will work very hard to earn lots of money. The wife will not see him for two months and after that time she will decide if she wants to go back to him. At this point the man will have to spend the money he was worked for on a holiday where they can reconcile their relationship. The whole community supports both the man and woman, even if they do not think it is right. There are many other examples in the story of how this great community works. I really recommend this book. It has many suprises and is a rollercoaster of emotion!

I could talk about this book for a very long time so I'm going to stop here...