Slumdog Millionaire

Swarup, Vikras. Slumdog Millionaire. Read by Christopher Simpson. Kingston, RI: BBC Audiobooks America, 2009.

Right away I knew I was going to like everything about Q&A (aka Slumdog Millionaire). I like the actor (Christopher Simpson) who reads the story. His accents are great. But, more importantly, I love the way Swarup captures 18 year old Ram Mohammed Thomas’s voice. There is something about the way you are drawn into his story immediately. Ram is a poor, uneducated orphan from the slums of Mumbai. How he ends up on a television game show is anyone’s guess, but just how he wins the billion rupee prize is unfathomable. How can someone like him, someone who never reads, nor has ever been to school, answer all twelve difficult questions correctly? The story begins with that question. Unable to pay Thomas his winnings the show’s producers search to uncover cheating, a scam, anything to get out of coming up with a billion rupees. The rest of the novel is unraveling the mystery. Each chapter is an answer to how Ram could use his life experiences to his advantage, answer the questions correctly and ultimately, win the show.

As an aside, I wish that I had read more reviews that didn’t make comparisons or even mention the movie version. In my opinion, the book is always going to be different from the movie. And really, how can you objectively read the book after seeing the movie? And another thing – if I were Swarup, I would be pissed if I went to sites like Good Reads and found six entries, all for the movie version, before my own written work. The site is called Good READS. If Swarup hadn’t written the book there wouldn’t have been a movie, a screenplay or a soundtrack! The mistake is retitling the book.

Reason read: the movie was released in November. How’s that for ironic?

Author fact: Slumdog Millionaire Q&A was Swarup’s first novel.

Book trivia: Slumdog Millionaire was made into a movie starring Dev Patel, but more importantly, it was originally published as Q & A.

Reason read: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Sojourns in South Asia: India” (p 214). I really wish Pearl had indexed the original title.

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