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First it was a media sensation. Then it became the New York Times bestseller and #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara--nominated for six Academy Awards! This is the miraculous and triumphant story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who used Google Earth to rediscover his childhood First it was a media sensation. Then it became the New York Times bestseller and #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara--nominated for six Academy Awards! This is the miraculous and triumphant story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who used Google Earth to rediscover his childhood life and home in an incredible journey from India to Australia and back again... At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia. Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family. A Long Way Home is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.


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First it was a media sensation. Then it became the New York Times bestseller and #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara--nominated for six Academy Awards! This is the miraculous and triumphant story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who used Google Earth to rediscover his childhood First it was a media sensation. Then it became the New York Times bestseller and #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara--nominated for six Academy Awards! This is the miraculous and triumphant story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who used Google Earth to rediscover his childhood life and home in an incredible journey from India to Australia and back again... At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia. Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family. A Long Way Home is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.

30 review for A Long Way Home: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    Sad, horrifying, wondrous, life affirming, heartbreaking and heartwarming. When Saroo’s father left his mother and their family for another woman, another family, they moved from the Hindu community / side of town to the Muslim side moving into a single room falling apart with a cowpat and mud floor and a small corner fireplace. What light there was came from candles. No electricity. Broken, unpaved streets outside throughout the poverty-stricken neighborhood. Kamla, Saroo’s mother, worked 6 days Sad, horrifying, wondrous, life affirming, heartbreaking and heartwarming. When Saroo’s father left his mother and their family for another woman, another family, they moved from the Hindu community / side of town to the Muslim side moving into a single room falling apart with a cowpat and mud floor and a small corner fireplace. What light there was came from candles. No electricity. Broken, unpaved streets outside throughout the poverty-stricken neighborhood. Kamla, Saroo’s mother, worked 6 days a week, morning until nightfall, hard physically grueling work, sometimes gone for days at a time. Still, it wasn’t enough, so Guddu, the oldest at ten, went to work, washing dishes for 6 hours for half a rupee. I don’t know what that was worth then, but now one rupee is equivalent to 1.6 cents, so less than a penny for 6 hours of washing dishes. Still, they ended up begging for scraps from neighbors, anyone. Still, there were moments that Saroo would look back on later with fondness: playing peek-a-boo with Shekila, his baby sister. Playing with his brothers, Guddu and Kallu. Guddu also tried extra jobs, selling items at the train station platform, but that created new problems with the law. ”I remember feeling hungry most of the time. There was no choice to the matter, hunger was simply a fact of life, like the searing heat and the constantly buzzing flies.” Looking up to his older brother, five year-old Saroo decides to go with Guddu one night. It would be years before Saroo would return. With only a vague idea of the name of the village he is from, and many miles in between, it’s amazing he ever found his way back. Five years old, I remember naps in school, a playground, an older brother and a brand new baby brother. I did have a long distance trip that year – to Disneyland, my father, my older brother and me, but Calcutta is nothing like Disneyland, everyone spoke my language and money was not something I was concerned with. I was more concerned that my father didn’t know how to do pigtails. All a far cry from a five year-old boy, in Calcutta, with no money, no family and no idea of where he is or how to find his way home. He tries. Over and over. And then, after a series of unfortunate circumstances followed by one fortunate one, Saroo ends up in an orphanage, and is “found” by one woman working there - Saroj Sood. She seeks to find his home going on the only words he associates with his home. Ginestlay. Berampur. His town. The train station. Neither name is recognized by anyone, and after months pass, he is declared “lost,” so that he is now available for adoption. A wonderful Australian couple are hoping he would like to come live with them, let them be his new family and live in Tasmania. Mrs. Sood asks Saroo if he thinks he would like to live with this family. This couple has lovingly put together a scrap book, photos of the plane to transport him to Australia, their home. His future in pictures. Saroo owes much of his open heart to Sue and John Brierley, a couple who were heaven sent. They opened their hearts a second time, a few years later, to adopt a brother for Saroo, a second son for them, named Mantash. Years go by, time passes and one day in 2004, Google purchases Brian McClendon’s company “Keyhole, Inc.”, and suddenly the world is at your fingertips. Google Earth. By this time, Saroo Brierley is a young man, and the internet as we know it is even younger, but there is a promise of something, just knowing it is out there and can be found. Consistent persistency with no results is emotionally draining. Exhausting. More time passes and the demand for instant everything brings faster speeds. Less time looking with better results. All this benefits Saroo in his search. From the first days after he came to live with his Mom and Dad, his new parents were extremely supportive and helpful. Photographs, maps were drawn of his vague memories as a five year-old, which she kept. In case he ever wanted to find these answers. What an amazing gift, and what an amazing gift he gives them in return. This book was originally titled “A Long Way Home: A Memoir,” and was reissued as “Lion” as a tie-in with the movie. Although he didn’t know this until his search was complete, Saroo’s given name was actually Sheru, which, in Hindu, means “Lion,” – and that became the name of the movie. An inspirational, true story, a life most of us can’t imagine – all this is the story of Saroo Brierley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    It's India in the 1980s and Saroo, his siblings and his mum live in extreme poverty sharing a single room with only a single shelf as furniture; mum and older brother get work that pays very little, and the rest of the time the mother and kids have to beg, borrow or steal to survive. One night, on an adventure with his older brother, Saroo finds himself stuck on a train and travelling hundreds and hundreds of miles away from his home. With no resources, completely lost and alone, Saroo has to ek It's India in the 1980s and Saroo, his siblings and his mum live in extreme poverty sharing a single room with only a single shelf as furniture; mum and older brother get work that pays very little, and the rest of the time the mother and kids have to beg, borrow or steal to survive. One night, on an adventure with his older brother, Saroo finds himself stuck on a train and travelling hundreds and hundreds of miles away from his home. With no resources, completely lost and alone, Saroo has to eke out some kind of living on the streets of Calcutta (now know as Kolkata)... oh... as I have yet to mention his age... he was five years old! The memoir follows Saroo's life of poverty at home, to living on the streets of Kolkata, through to his getting adopted, and then on to his search for his family as an adult. Overall it is an uplifting story that pays tribute to Saroo's luck as much as his competency; it also give a huge nod to the power of acts of kindness. The book was co-written by Larry Buttrose, which may explain that even though the narration is very personalised, it feels distant. 8 out of 12, for the story itself, maybe a lot less for the writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ I remember hearing about this story when it ‘broke’ a few years ago, and then it surfaced again when Nicole Kidman starred in the movie LION, and the rest will, no doubt, be history. First, I have to say that although I already knew the bones of the story, as so many potential readers may, it only made the reading that much more enjoyable. Ghost-writer Larry Buttrose isn’t listed on the cover although he’s credited “with Larry Buttrose” inside. The Goodreads description is the first four introdu 5★ I remember hearing about this story when it ‘broke’ a few years ago, and then it surfaced again when Nicole Kidman starred in the movie LION, and the rest will, no doubt, be history. First, I have to say that although I already knew the bones of the story, as so many potential readers may, it only made the reading that much more enjoyable. Ghost-writer Larry Buttrose isn’t listed on the cover although he’s credited “with Larry Buttrose” inside. The Goodreads description is the first four introductory pages of the book. It is so long and thorough, you can get a good idea of what it sounds like. (Read that, if you haven't.) Saroo tells his own story, and I think Buttrose has captured his tone and feelings well. Saroo (he doesn’t know his last name) is five, gets lost in Calcutta (as Kolkata was then known), is eventually adopted by Aussies in Tasmania, and rediscovers his birth family using Google maps. Each step of his convoluted journey to Australia makes the outcome even more unbelievable. Just surviving was quite an achievement His experience makes a wonderful, terrible, terrifying, exhilarating and ultimately satisfying adventure, but there are certainly dark undertones about the children loose on the streets in India. I can’t say they are “neglected”, because that makes it sound as if there’s a choice that they wouldn’t be. Saroo’s mother (dad left with a surprise second wife) works carrying stones on her head for construction sites, leaving 5-year-old Saroo at home to mind his even younger little sister while two older brothers beg and scavenge for food. It’s just the way it was (and is). They are always hungry and live in a shed with a cow-pat floor. Hindi was his native language, but typical of many small children in desperately poor areas of the world, he had very little vocabulary to work with when he was found. Many refugee children arrive in Australia with little language or smatterings of several but command of none. “Mum had always been fascinated by India and knew something about the conditions many people were living under there: in 1987 Australia’s population was 17 million, and that same year in India, around 14 million children under the age of ten died from illness or starvation. While obviously adopting one child was merely a drop in the ocean, it was something they could do. And it would make a huge difference to that one child. They chose India.” His mum (as he always refers to Sue Brierley), had a violent childhood, but Dad, John Brierley, had a happy upbringing, which gave stability to the family. They were in complete agreement about what they wanted to do together. The story moves back and forth, quite naturally, from Saroo’s memories to his searches to today, and it’s amazing how much and how well he remembered. But it wasn’t by accident. He replayed everything he did and everywhere he went in his mind, so he wouldn’t forget. As soon as he woke up lost in Calcutta, he tried to replay his memories of accidentally falling asleep on a train so he might figure out where it came from. He hopped on every train he could find, but with no luck. Later, growing up in Tasmania, he continued to practice retracing everything in his mind, as a kind of meditation, from walking around his village, to crawling into hiding places (sewer pipes – yuck!), to escaping dogs, sexual predators, and organ collectors! The odds on his surviving intact were slim indeed. But he never forgot all the landmarks he’d committed to memory. At FIVE! As I said, knowing these details won’t affect the fun you’ll have reading his story and enjoying the many photos that accompany it. Unfortunately, the adoption process takes longer than it did in the 1980s, but he says it’s quicker if you don’t demand a certain age or gender. If any Aussies are interested: http://www.intercountryadoption.gov.au/ I bet there’ll be a surge in demand as more people see the movie, LION, (the meaning of his name, Sheru, in Hindi). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_(2... The Wikipedia article about Larry Buttrose has a nice story about how he worked on the book. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_B... “His best known book is A Long Way Home, the Saroo Brierley memoir, which he ghost-wrote in 2012. He researched and wrote the book between September and December of that year, including research trips to Hobart to interview Saroo and his family, and a month-long journey to India with Saroo. There he met Saroo’s Indian family, and travelled with Saroo on a rail journey across India, retracing for the first time the journey that Saroo took two and a half decades before as a young child, that ended him in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Buttrose completed the book in his Kolkata hotel room, and emailed the manuscript to the publishers Penguin on the date of the deadline.” Terrific book, unbelievable story from an amazing memory, wonderfully told! (Oh, am I gushing?)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ A Long Way Home will probably end up as a selection on all the lists featuring inspirational stories and here I go giving it a 2 Star. What can I say????? The first sign that this probably wasn't going to be a great book is the fact that the blurb wasn't even a blurb, but rather the opening pages of the story. That should have served as my warning, but I was all about reading errrrrry book that went from “Read to Reel” and I didn’t Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ A Long Way Home will probably end up as a selection on all the lists featuring inspirational stories and here I go giving it a 2 Star. What can I say????? The first sign that this probably wasn't going to be a great book is the fact that the blurb wasn't even a blurb, but rather the opening pages of the story. That should have served as my warning, but I was all about reading errrrrry book that went from “Read to Reel” and I didn’t even bother looking into this one at all before requesting it. Plus, the movie has received about eleventy Oscar nominations so it had to be decent, right? Wellllllllllllllllllllllll, the story was . . . . it was just terribly written and could have easily been an article in a Newsweek or Time type of publication rather than a nearly 300 page book. A Long Way Home is about a boy named Saroo, who at five years old becomes lost from his family and winds up on the other side of India. Not knowing his last name and only that he lived in a place that sounded something like “Berampur,” Saroo is labeled lost by the Indian government and winds up adopted by an Australian family. As an adult Saroo becomes a bit obsessed and uses Google maps to walk the various train tracks in hopes of spotting something familiar that will reconnect him with his past . . . . There you have it. It’s quite clear immediately that Saroo Brierley is no writer (and if I’m calling it out, you know it must be bad) and the fact that he was only five years old when he became lost meant hardly any details of his story were remembered. This could have been a much more comprehensive tale if it wasn’t so one-dimensional and used contributions from his families (in both Australia and India) as well as the juvenile detention facility and orphanage to help make it feel more complete. I have a feeling this is one of the rare occasions where the movie will surpass the book. I mean, just look at this child . . . . I hate kids and I even kind of want to kidnap that one. Book #9 (????? I’m starting to lose track) on the Library’s Winter Reading Challenge

  5. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    Few life stories involve such impossible odds, incredible love, and sheer determiniation as Saroo Brierley's. For several years after watching 'Slumdog Millionaire', my mind kept returning to these little boys and their heartbreaking story. When I started reading the book, after the title attracted me to it, I was unaware of Saroo Brierley's true story. After finishing the book I discovered that the movie "Lion" with Nicole Kidman in his Australian mother's role was made. I realized for the firs Few life stories involve such impossible odds, incredible love, and sheer determiniation as Saroo Brierley's. For several years after watching 'Slumdog Millionaire', my mind kept returning to these little boys and their heartbreaking story. When I started reading the book, after the title attracted me to it, I was unaware of Saroo Brierley's true story. After finishing the book I discovered that the movie "Lion" with Nicole Kidman in his Australian mother's role was made. I realized for the first time how big his story really became. He talked in the book of the press getting hold of it, but it never really dawned on me, or rather sunk in, how far and wide his amazing story traveled all over the world. And it is the most amazing story ever, of this five-year-old boy, born in extreme poverty in central India, who under calamitous and traumatic circumstances got lost at a train station and landed in an an orphanage, two thousand kilometers away from home, was adopted by Australian parents and decided 20 years later to find his family, even though he had the names of towns all wrong (almost right), and even pronounced his own name incorrectly. All through his life he always worried about his little sister who he took care of since he was four years old. He still felt responsible for her. And he was worried that his older brother, who at fourteen years old, was the head of the family with many responsibilities, was still looking for him, after Saroo was left at the train station that night to wait on his brother. He worried about his mother who had to work as a brick carrier on construction sites to make ends meet, and had nobody to take care of his little sister. With the help of Google Earth, it took him 4 years, but he never gave up. Mentally, I was so involved in his search, I even marked his memories on sticky notes to help him search. Total madness, I know, since he wrote the book after the fact. But I just burst out in tears when he found the water tower at the train station where he got separated from his older brother one night so many years ago. In my mind I told him: "Oh Saroo, let's go! Let's go! I feel it in my bones your mum is there!" Given the fact that he went through hundreds of towns and villages connected to railways and just could not find the right one. During the day he worked in his adoptive father's business, and at night he spent hours on Google Earth. In a country with almost 2 billion citizens, it was a daunting undertaking. Oy! Of course he did not really need me. :-))) The title of this memoir is perfect. It was not only a journey of thousands of kilometers home, but also an emotional road through terrible memories and gut-wrenching losses. I could just imagine his biological mother's joy when he stood in front of her after twenty five years. Well, yours truly cried like a baby. I haven't seen the movie, but the book was an emotional journey with a young five-year-old boy, who became a gentle giant with a mission in life. It was perfectly written. And they all lived happily ever after, and so did I. There are several videos and interviews available on Youtube which I still must watch. Can't wait. It is not a story that you will easily forget. It's a miracle, really. I loved the tone of the book. The innocence of the little boy is so well portrayed and brings a charm to the book, which makes it authentic. It's really well-written.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Imogen Kathleen

    Oh my lord this book had be blubbering like a baby. Prepare the tissues if you read this book! When Saroo Brierley was five years old, he was separated from his family on a train. Unable to remember where he came from, Saroo eventually found himself adopted by an Australian family. This is the story of Saroo finding his home. The Good - A very emotional and heartwarming read. - So easy to fly through in a single sitting. - I can finally watch the movie! The Bad - Saroo's writing isn't my person Oh my lord this book had be blubbering like a baby. Prepare the tissues if you read this book! When Saroo Brierley was five years old, he was separated from his family on a train. Unable to remember where he came from, Saroo eventually found himself adopted by an Australian family. This is the story of Saroo finding his home. The Good - A very emotional and heartwarming read. - So easy to fly through in a single sitting. - I can finally watch the movie! The Bad - Saroo's writing isn't my personal favourite, but I don't think that it matters too much since the story itself was amazing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    At the age of five, Saroo an Indian boy becomes lost after after being separated from his brother. After traveling on a train for quite some time, Saroo ends up in Calcutta. Saroo is not only frightened and alone, but he is also faced with having to scavenge and beg for food for his survival. He has no idea of his surname or the village he comes from which make it extremely difficult to find his way back home. Life is looking very bleak for, Saroo and he worries if he'll ever see his family agai At the age of five, Saroo an Indian boy becomes lost after after being separated from his brother. After traveling on a train for quite some time, Saroo ends up in Calcutta. Saroo is not only frightened and alone, but he is also faced with having to scavenge and beg for food for his survival. He has no idea of his surname or the village he comes from which make it extremely difficult to find his way back home. Life is looking very bleak for, Saroo and he worries if he'll ever see his family again. After being in an orphanage for some time, Saroo's life takes a turn for the better after being adopted by an Australian couple who take him to live in his new home in Hobart, Tasmania. His adoptive parents are wonderful and loving people who do all they can to make Saroo feel at home. Even though Saroo has settled in very well with his adoptive parents he still thinks about he's family back in India. Will Saroo ever see his family again? What a remarkable story about never giving up. This was an inspiring and heartwarming story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have no hesitation in HIGHLY recommending this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    After recently watching the movie Lion for the 4th time (and crying my eyes out each time), I decided right then that it was time to pull the book off my shelf and read it! Previously published as A Long Way Home, the book gives greater insights into Saroo's journey, both physical and emotional, than the movie could, given its time constraints. I learned more about Saroo: his birth and adoptive parents' backgrounds (including his birth father), his blood siblings (he has another older brother!), After recently watching the movie Lion for the 4th time (and crying my eyes out each time), I decided right then that it was time to pull the book off my shelf and read it! Previously published as A Long Way Home, the book gives greater insights into Saroo's journey, both physical and emotional, than the movie could, given its time constraints. I learned more about Saroo: his birth and adoptive parents' backgrounds (including his birth father), his blood siblings (he has another older brother!), Mantosh, his adoptive brother's story, his first days in Kolkata, his life in Tasmania, his trips back to India, and of his memories in greater detail. I could feel Saroo's fears, frustrations, despair, excitement and joy throughout the story. Even though I knew the outcome of Saroo's story, I would still get goosebumps whenever he made a major discovery. The inclusion of 16 pages of captioned black and white photos, as well as a 2-page spread of a map of India titled "My Journey Across India", which indicates two possible routes Saroo may have took to Kolkata, added much-appreciated information to his story. I do have to admit that although the book was a little more informative than the movie, it didn't stir as much emotion in me as the movie did. Overall, I recommend this heartwarming story about survival, perseverance, luck, hope and love.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A Long Way Home is Saroo Brierley's personal account of finding himself tragically lost from his family at the young age of 5 years old. His journey back to his birth mother 25 years later is a truly amazing story. The fact that he survived before (and after) being discovered as homeless is a miracle in itself. Despite my thoughts about the astonishing facts, I have mixed feelings about this reading experience. In my perspective, this memoir was very to-the-point and caused it to feel disappoint A Long Way Home is Saroo Brierley's personal account of finding himself tragically lost from his family at the young age of 5 years old. His journey back to his birth mother 25 years later is a truly amazing story. The fact that he survived before (and after) being discovered as homeless is a miracle in itself. Despite my thoughts about the astonishing facts, I have mixed feelings about this reading experience. In my perspective, this memoir was very to-the-point and caused it to feel disappointingly one-dimensional. A little help with the writing and overall storytelling could have added personality and allowed this piece of nonfiction to pull at the heartstrings and keep the reader on the edge of suspense, because when you think about Saroo's experiences, those emotions are within reach. I plan to watch the film adaptation: Lion and have no doubt it will more than make up for my lack of connection to the book. Regardless, A Long Way Home is a story to be heard and I don't regret reading it. My favorite quote: "Today there are perhaps a hundred thousand homeless kids in Kolkata, and a good many of them die before they reach adulthood ... No one knows how many Indian children have been trafficked into the sex trade, or slavery, or even for organs, but all these trades are thriving, with too few officials and too many kids."

  10. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Good Lord. FEELINGS. This book is effectively two separate stories: 1. How Saroo got lost and ended up being adopted by an Australian family. 2. Saroo's search for his home 20 years later. The first story is horrifying when you think about all the ways that his story could have ended differently. The second is nothing short of astonishing. Not only that he managed to find a needle in a haystack on Google Earth, but that his mother had made the decision to stay in the same neighbourhood for 20+ year Good Lord. FEELINGS. This book is effectively two separate stories: 1. How Saroo got lost and ended up being adopted by an Australian family. 2. Saroo's search for his home 20 years later. The first story is horrifying when you think about all the ways that his story could have ended differently. The second is nothing short of astonishing. Not only that he managed to find a needle in a haystack on Google Earth, but that his mother had made the decision to stay in the same neighbourhood for 20+ years on the off chance that her son found his way home again. I'm pretty stinking excited to see the movie version now to compare the two. Although I think I'll hold off until I can watch it in the comfort of my own home with a very large box of tissues and no one to judge me for sobbing periodically...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Saroo was five years old when he found himself alone and on the streets of Calcutta. Surviving by eating scraps of food, sleeping in hidden areas. After several close calls, he is eventually found and sent to an orphanage. Unable to find his family from his descriptions, he is adopted and sent to live his new life in Australia. Years later has an adult he attempts again to find the family he lost. This is the story of his journey. I'm a doubting Thomas, I freely admit it, but I can't believe he c Saroo was five years old when he found himself alone and on the streets of Calcutta. Surviving by eating scraps of food, sleeping in hidden areas. After several close calls, he is eventually found and sent to an orphanage. Unable to find his family from his descriptions, he is adopted and sent to live his new life in Australia. Years later has an adult he attempts again to find the family he lost. This is the story of his journey. I'm a doubting Thomas, I freely admit it, but I can't believe he could remember all the details he does at that young an age. I think back to when I was five, after my parents divorced, and remember little. Plus there is quite a bit of what I call filler to pad the story. Don't get me wrong, I did find this heartbreaking in parts and I admire him for all the adversity he had to conquer. I just doubt the veracity of part of his story. I could very possibly be wrong. The narrator was Vikas Adam and I thought he was excellent. 4 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 Stars. I found out about this book when I watched the trailer for the 2016 movie "Lion". The trailer had me in tears and then when I saw it was based on this true story, I knew I had to read this. First of all, it is an incredible and heartbreaking story. I can't even fathom how Saroo, a 5 year old Indian boy survived for weeks on the streets by himself. So many awful things could have happened to him but he was extremely lucky that no major harm came to him and he was even luckier to get ado 3.5 Stars. I found out about this book when I watched the trailer for the 2016 movie "Lion". The trailer had me in tears and then when I saw it was based on this true story, I knew I had to read this. First of all, it is an incredible and heartbreaking story. I can't even fathom how Saroo, a 5 year old Indian boy survived for weeks on the streets by himself. So many awful things could have happened to him but he was extremely lucky that no major harm came to him and he was even luckier to get adopted by an amazing Australian couple. This story will blow you away and the story itself is reason alone to read this book. For the most part, Saroo Brierley was a great storyteller. He really told a comprehensive story about his life before he was separated from his family in India. We got to know things about his siblings, his parents, the people that were in his community and all about his life. I enjoyed reading about his life and family in Australia too. I felt at times things were dragged out a bit too much though. The part about riding on the train journey again as an adult and the constant researching kind of bored me at times. I do feel conflicted regarding the way he wrote this memoir; I enjoyed it because it was comprehensive, detailed and logical but I kind of wish he wrote with more emotion. Maybe it was hard for him to really convey past emotions or something but I just felt like there could have been more about his feelings and thoughts. I'm not saying that it wasn't emotional, it was, but I just wanted more. I wanted to feel more connected to Saroo. Also something that kind of irked me was the fact that in the book, Saroo says he tells his dad & mom at different times and in person that he found his old hometown but in the 60 minute show (I watched that after I read this) it was said that he texted them in the middle of the night. I know it's something small but it's just if the book version was wrong then what else in the book wasn't the actual truth? Just me being a particular Sally, I know, but it did kind of bother me! So overall, I liked this book. At times it was a little slow and there were a few redundant things in the book but I would definitely recommend this. I will watch the movie soon and hopefully I will like it as much as I liked this. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “She described it as sometimes feeling so disoriented that she didn’t know where the sky ended and the ground began.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jaline

    This is an extraordinary story, told by the person who lived it. Part of me is still “in” the story and I only hope that it doesn’t hinder me from expressing how truly wonderful this book is. First: The Writing. Maybe an odd place to start, but when we read a book, that’s the first introduction to the story we get. The words. The writing. “Lion” is written with great humbleness, with gratitude, with simplicity and utter straightforwardness. In that way it captured me completely and continued thro This is an extraordinary story, told by the person who lived it. Part of me is still “in” the story and I only hope that it doesn’t hinder me from expressing how truly wonderful this book is. First: The Writing. Maybe an odd place to start, but when we read a book, that’s the first introduction to the story we get. The words. The writing. “Lion” is written with great humbleness, with gratitude, with simplicity and utter straightforwardness. In that way it captured me completely and continued through to the very end. Second: The Story. Saroo’s family lived every parent’s nightmare – losing a child. Saroo himself experienced the terrors and the bewilderment of finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time locked into a car on a train that ended up far from his home. There was no “Lost Child Officer” to report to, he could not make himself understood to the people he approached, and he wasn’t even sure how to pronounce the name of his village or the larger center where he boarded the train. He was 5 years old, and even mispronounced his name. He was born “Sheru” which means Lion. That was his first piece of good luck. Third: The Story, Part 2. Imagine being 5 years old, miles from anyone you know, in one of the most densely populated – and dangerous – cities in the world. His adventures and misadventures of living on the streets for several weeks were stories Saroo later told himself in his mind over and over so he wouldn’t forget. The landmarks and directions of his home village and the town where he boarded the train were etched indelibly in his mind so he would be able to find it again if he could. Meantime, how was he to survive a lifestyle that took the lives of millions of children in this huge cauldron of humanity with woes so large that those of a lost child aren’t even noticed? Fourth: The Story, Part 3. Fate, luck, destiny, all that is Holy – call it what you will, but intervention in what could have been a tragic ending entered Saroo’s life just when it was needed most. Within a few short months, he found himself on an airplane to Australia and ultimately to Tasmania where his adoptive parents, Sue and John Brierly eagerly awaited him. Fifth: The Story, Part 4. Saroo has nothing but love and respect in his tone and writing about his adoptive family. He describes many of the wonders of his new world from his child’s eyes, and thanks to his loving parents he manages to retain that wonder – and his sense of gratitude – throughout his growing up years. Nevertheless, his memories, always kept on a low simmer in the back of his mind continue to wait for him to softly breathe them back to life. Sixth: The Story, Part 5. Eventually, Saroo recognizes that he needs to try to find his birth family because his questions and concern about their welfare are always going to be a part of him. The timing is perfect as technology has supplied valuable tools (primarily via Google Earth and Facebook) that help him in his quest. His family and his girl-friend are also supportive and this support mitigates the obsession to find his village to a compulsive level everyone can live with. Seventh: The Story, Part 6. The reunion with his family and his determination to take the same journey as his 5-year-old self are deeply moving and touching. He makes the trip a few times during the latter part of the book and one of those times his two mothers meet for the first time. They are each so grateful for the role of the other in this man’s life that words are not even necessary to describe the emotional impact they have on each other. The smiles, and tears, say it all. Of his trip where he travels the train line he believes took him from his home, and visits the places that impacted him at age 5 in the city that was then known as Calcutta, Saroo Brierly says, “I would never have imagined when I left here that I would one day willingly return, a tourist to my old terrors.” This is a sad, frightening, and ultimately beautiful story that is shared with disarming frankness, with respect, and with dignity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Saroo was only five years old when he followed his older brother (himself only 14) to work along the train stations not far from his home. As Saroo fell asleep on a platform bench, Guddu his brother told him, “Just sit down, and don’t move. I’ll come back in a little while.” Waking up hours later to a dark, deserted platform, Saroo’s not certain why he stepped onto the empty train car standing before him. In all likelihood, it was to find his brother. The circumstances that would then put him al Saroo was only five years old when he followed his older brother (himself only 14) to work along the train stations not far from his home. As Saroo fell asleep on a platform bench, Guddu his brother told him, “Just sit down, and don’t move. I’ll come back in a little while.” Waking up hours later to a dark, deserted platform, Saroo’s not certain why he stepped onto the empty train car standing before him. In all likelihood, it was to find his brother. The circumstances that would then put him alone, more than 1600 kilometers from home and family, are tragic and incredible, but the story of his survival, the intervening 25 years with a new family, and the eventual finding of home again, are inspirational. I watched the movie Lion , then picked up the book written by Saroo Brierley one week later. The story is just that amazing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    ~Jo~

    I discovered this book in the new section of books in Waterstones. I had seen the trailer for the film, and I bought it really for the sheer hell of it. I'm glad I made that decision that day. This is a remarkable story of discovery, which in turn, has it's share of utter heartbreak and dispair as we are taken along Saroo's emotional journey. When five year old Saroo gets separated from his brother at a train station in India, he experiences a spontaneous moment, where he boards the train in fro I discovered this book in the new section of books in Waterstones. I had seen the trailer for the film, and I bought it really for the sheer hell of it. I'm glad I made that decision that day. This is a remarkable story of discovery, which in turn, has it's share of utter heartbreak and dispair as we are taken along Saroo's emotional journey. When five year old Saroo gets separated from his brother at a train station in India, he experiences a spontaneous moment, where he boards the train in front of him to find his brother. This takes him on a huge journey, even further away from his family, and eventually(without saying too much), he ends up being adopted by an Australian couple. What makes this story all the more harrowing and at the same time, inspirational, is that it's true. This is not fiction. This actually happened, and that for me, makes it all the more shocking. For me, what surprised me, was the length of time it took, or still takes, to adopt internationally. Now, I can understand the legislation, interviews and endless amounts of paperwork, but five years is a long time. Adoptees, like Saroo's parents, don't go into this lightly. They go into it knowing it's a lifelong commitment, and they have a great deal of love to give. Being adopted myself, I can appreciate how long the process is, and the completely amazing and selfless act that these people go through, just to give a child a new and good life. I can greatly understand Saroo's quest to go and meet his birth Mother after all those years. I also think it is grand that he is able to share his love with his adoptive parents, and his birth Mother and maintain those relationships to a level that all are comfortable and happy with. I think when you are adopted, you always wonder where you "Came from" Even though you love your adoptive parents to the moon and back, there is always this hole, that can never be filled. In this case, Saroo made the right decision to discover his roots again and to get answers to unanswered questions that had been gnawing away at him for 25 years. I have a lot of love for this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    When Saroo Brierley was born, he was born into poverty in a small town in India. Of course he wasn’t Saroo Brierley then, and when he became lost he was only five, and could only remember his name was Saroo. His early childhood was happy in his memory. He and his siblings were always hungry, but that was a fact of life. They spent their days begging for food, eating scraps from the ground and doing the best they could. They were the typical impoverished children with big tummys bloated from gas, When Saroo Brierley was born, he was born into poverty in a small town in India. Of course he wasn’t Saroo Brierley then, and when he became lost he was only five, and could only remember his name was Saroo. His early childhood was happy in his memory. He and his siblings were always hungry, but that was a fact of life. They spent their days begging for food, eating scraps from the ground and doing the best they could. They were the typical impoverished children with big tummys bloated from gas, thin and malnourished. The four of them lived with their mother, as their father had deserted them to take a second wife. So their hardship was intense. Saroo’s responsibility was to look after his baby sister while their mother worked. Their two older brothers would try to find food, working for a few rupee in hopes of buying enough for a meal. The night Saroo’s life began its dramatic and dangerous turn, he had gone with his oldest brother on the pushbike, and was told to wait at the train station for him. After waking from sleep and finding himself alone, he panicked and boarded a train, ultimately finding himself in Calcutta many hours later. The next few weeks were terrifying, lonely and intensely dangerous as he lived on the streets with only his wits to help him, but finally the kindness of a stranger turned his life around. When he was adopted by a lovely couple by the name of Brierley and taken to his new home in Hobart in Tasmania, his life was new, strange but wonderful as well. His memories of his home in India were kept alive by his adoptive parents, and his transition into an Australian lifestyle was not the trauma that it was for some. The story of Saroo’s life from his very early days in India, the trauma when he was lost, the transportation to Australia and his new life, then his growing up through school, teenage years and beyond, plus the beginning of his serious search for his home town in India with few details is an awe inspiring and inspirational one. His determination along with the love and support of his parents, and the help of strangers is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is beautifully told, with the emotions see-sawing throughout. This is a highly recommendable book by an amazing young man who has been willing to share his experiences and his life with us all. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy to read and review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    Great story wrapped in a short book. It details the treacherous journey of not only a 5 year old as he leaves his home in India, but also the exhausting journey of a 30 year old as he finds his way back to that home. Written as a memoir, this starts as a heart breaking story. It is easy to read, but gripping in detail and frustrating in fact. It has become the 2017 Oscar nominated movie - Lions. 4.25 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aqsa

    Watched the movie today, and of course I cried at the end. I cannot compare to the book just yet, but it was really beautiful and sad and heart-warming how 5 year old Saroo gets lost and tries to find his way back home after 25 years with nothing but a vague memory of his childhood, his mother, his little sister and his best friend and brother Guddu, and Google Earth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Cecile

    Beautiful, poignant memoir!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    It is NOT often that I say this, but-- I actually cannot wait to watch the film version of this (yes, I know it was nominated for the Oscar) because I think it will make a better film than book! Blasphemy, I know! Perhaps, if the protagonist were an actual author instead of just a normal guy trying to write his incredible story I would not feel this way....but, the book left me wanting better details/descriptions/emotions and I think the film will be great. --Jen from Quebec :0)

  21. 4 out of 5

    ✨ jami ✨

    ever since I first heard about Saroo's story through the Australian media it has fascinated me. It is a harrowing story, but also such an incredible one. It is amazing to me that he managed to survive those weeks on the streets of Culcutta, being so severely separated from his family, and then managed to find his way back years later equipped with Google Earth and a few childhood memories. I adored the movie version and I've been meaning to finally get to the actual biography for years and FINAL ever since I first heard about Saroo's story through the Australian media it has fascinated me. It is a harrowing story, but also such an incredible one. It is amazing to me that he managed to survive those weeks on the streets of Culcutta, being so severely separated from his family, and then managed to find his way back years later equipped with Google Earth and a few childhood memories. I adored the movie version and I've been meaning to finally get to the actual biography for years and FINALLY I have done it and I'm so glad. Saroo's writing is captivating, and he describes the events in a way that capture the atmosphere and mood, both joy and horror, while also maintaining a narrative voice that is engaging and funny. The ending of the story is so heartwarming and honestly amazing, but also so sad (view spoiler)[I absolutely share Saroo's feelings about Guddu. It is horrific not knowing exactly what happened on that night (hide spoiler)] . This is such a genuinely amazing true story, proving that fact is sometimes stranger then fiction, and I really think people should either read this or watch the movie which is INCREDIBLY similar to the book (and also has some really beautiful cinematography and stars my main man Dev Patel)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Irene△⃒⃘➰

    3.5/5 ~ Very strong and powerful story, but the execution wasn’t one of my favorites. Shortly after I saw the movie, that hit me right in the feels. The book is still a good add of this incredible journey. I very enjoyed the first half (young Saroo memories), while I struggled a little to get through the second half (adult Saroo).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alice-Elizabeth

    *Listened to the audiobook via BorrowBox!* Hands down, this is one of my favourite audiobook experiences of the year so far. Lion is inspired by the author's true story of being born in India, ending up accidentally lost on a speeding train to Calcutta, being homeless and then rescued from the dangerous streets and adopted to a loving family in Tasmania. There, he grows up from a little boy to a successful adult but always thinking about his old life back home. Spending months searching across Go *Listened to the audiobook via BorrowBox!* Hands down, this is one of my favourite audiobook experiences of the year so far. Lion is inspired by the author's true story of being born in India, ending up accidentally lost on a speeding train to Calcutta, being homeless and then rescued from the dangerous streets and adopted to a loving family in Tasmania. There, he grows up from a little boy to a successful adult but always thinking about his old life back home. Spending months searching across Google Earth, he is determined to track down his old hometown and learn about the fate of his birth family. I was close to tears by the end, I admired Saroo's courage and determination of never giving up until the truth was revealed. The pacing was a little slow, but the story-line, Indian settings and characters kept me going. Highly recommend!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Arianne Mix

    I really liked the first quarter of the book when he recollected his experiences as a boy in India. I love memoirs and this was right up my alley. The rest of the book was about his doubts and feelings of depression and his confusion and blah blah blah. It drove me crazy. He grew up in a beautiful, good family in Australia and the story of his adoption as a 5 yr. old was fascinating. But reading about his obsessive search for his family for over 100 pages was awful--he did all of his searching o I really liked the first quarter of the book when he recollected his experiences as a boy in India. I love memoirs and this was right up my alley. The rest of the book was about his doubts and feelings of depression and his confusion and blah blah blah. It drove me crazy. He grew up in a beautiful, good family in Australia and the story of his adoption as a 5 yr. old was fascinating. But reading about his obsessive search for his family for over 100 pages was awful--he did all of his searching on google maps. So he told about how he spent hours every evening scouring all of India for a familiar landmark. Over. And Over. And Over. Then reading about how he felt about everything for another 50 pages was not fun, so I eventually stopped. :) Also, it wasn't very well written. So: Really cool story, but it could have been told with just as much content and umph in about 60 pages.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Anze

    When Saroo gets separated at the train station from his brother, his life takes a dramatic turn. At just five years old, he finds himself alone in an unknown and crowded platform. With a vague notion of his way home, Saroo attempts to go back but instead winds up getting adopted and going to live to Australia. Still, Saroo can not forget his family in India and (years later) begins to search for them. This is his real life journey. Wow, going by the description of the book, one would think this i When Saroo gets separated at the train station from his brother, his life takes a dramatic turn. At just five years old, he finds himself alone in an unknown and crowded platform. With a vague notion of his way home, Saroo attempts to go back but instead winds up getting adopted and going to live to Australia. Still, Saroo can not forget his family in India and (years later) begins to search for them. This is his real life journey. Wow, going by the description of the book, one would think this is a work of fiction. Its not. All the events are factual. Its hard to fanthom how a five-year-old could manage to survive alone in the streets for weeks. There were so many ways his journey could have gone awry but his is a story that, thankfully, has a good ending. Saroo, lives on the streets of India for a few weeks and through a series of experiences winds up on an adoption list. Its not long from there that he gets adopted and brought to Australia. As an adult he uses Google Earth to find his home town, a lengthy and exhaustive process. But one that yields results. Its no wonder how his story caught Hollywood´s eye and whose movie ended up as an Oscar nominee. Prior to starting reading this work, I had no idea that the movie Lion was based on this book (will certainly be looking for the film adaptation). Heartfelt, profound and uplifting this was an incredible story. 22/07/17 UPDATE: Just recently saw the film and I am a puddle of tears. Dev Patel was brilliantly cast as Saroo. While a tad different than the book, the film was touching and I loved it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    Totally a feel-good story. I find it flipping amazing that 5-year old Saroo somehow managed to avoid any number of horrible situations while homeless and alone in Kolkata. To be adopted by a family in Australia truly was fortuitous.

  27. 4 out of 5

    bookswithpaulette

    This is a beautifully, heartbreaking memoir. 5 year old Saroo, is lost and alone, he is locked in a carriage on a train that is speeding away from his home town taking him to an unknown destination…… 24 hours or so later he finds himself in the big city of Calcutta. Far from his small home town. With limited information of where he is from, family name etc the authorities are unable to locate his family. Eventually Saroo is adopted and flown to a loving family in Australia where he builds a new This is a beautifully, heartbreaking memoir. 5 year old Saroo, is lost and alone, he is locked in a carriage on a train that is speeding away from his home town taking him to an unknown destination…… 24 hours or so later he finds himself in the big city of Calcutta. Far from his small home town. With limited information of where he is from, family name etc the authorities are unable to locate his family. Eventually Saroo is adopted and flown to a loving family in Australia where he builds a new life. His old life back in India with his family is never far from his mind….. fast forward to Saroo as a 30 year old man, he is determined to retrace his steps from that night he became lost to go back, find his hometown and be reunited with his brothers, sister and mother. It is a fabulous story of courage, love and above all hope. I recommend this book, bring the tissues

  28. 4 out of 5

    Raghu

    This book tells an amazing story. There is simply no other way to describe it. It is the real-life story of Saroo, a five-year-old child in a village in central India, who gets lost and finds himself transported all the way east to Calcutta, some 1800 kms away. Young Saroo, all of five, penniless and illiterate, does not even know the name of his village and knows little else about where he was from. He gets off at the bustling, crowded Howrah train station and survives for six weeks in the inti This book tells an amazing story. There is simply no other way to describe it. It is the real-life story of Saroo, a five-year-old child in a village in central India, who gets lost and finds himself transported all the way east to Calcutta, some 1800 kms away. Young Saroo, all of five, penniless and illiterate, does not even know the name of his village and knows little else about where he was from. He gets off at the bustling, crowded Howrah train station and survives for six weeks in the intimidating bad and mean streets of Calcutta by his instincts and luck. He ends up at a benevolent orphanage called ISSA, where the kindly Ms.Saroj Sood - tries to find his family and re-unite him. But all Saroo can tell was that he was from Ginestlay, which is what he remembered as his village's name. He also mistakenly says that he travelled just overnight by train when in reality he had travelled almost 24 hours to get to Calcutta. After a couple of moths' futile effort, Mrs.Sood pronounces him 'lost' and organizes him to be adopted by Sue and John Brierley, a young couple from Tasmania, Australia. Saroo is lovingly brought up by the Brierleys and he grows up into a happy and well-integrated Aussie over the next 20 years. However Saroo always wonders about his origins, with clear memories of his birth mother Kamala, his kid sister Shekila and elder brothers Kallu and Guddu, whom he looked up to as a child two decades before. He starts working on trying to find where he was from by using the feeble memories of his childhood. All he had to go by was that there was a train station whose name was something like 'Berampur' , that it had a water tower, an overpass across the tracks and that the town had a fountain near a cinema. His village 'Ginestlay' was somewhere nearby and that they were all reachable overnight by train from Calcutta. Gradually, over five years, with incredible patience and perseverance , Saroo, at age 30, using Google Earth's satellite images and Facebook, miraculously locates the train station with the identifying features of his childhood. He notes that a nearby town is called Khandwa and that there is a Facebook group belonging to people from Khandwa. He contacts them and gets the key info that there is a nearby village called Ganesh Talai - the 'Ginestlay' of 5-year-old Saroo! Saroo soon goes to India and reconnects with his birth family to the great delight of his elderly mother Kamala and his siblings Shekila and Kallu, who are now married with children. Sadly, Guddu, his eldest brother whom he adored as a child, was killed in an accident just on the same day that Saroo got lost 25 years before. Otherwise, it is a happy resolution for Saroo. Not only Saroo, but his Aussie parents, Sue and John as well, come off as wonderful, loving and caring parents and individuals. Sue herself was a WWII refugee from Hungary and her story is also inspring as told it in the book. Saroo's birth mother Kamala is another remarkable woman, who never gave up hope that her son Sheru (which is his correct name!) would return one day. Hence she never moved from the shack where she lived so that she will be there when Saroo comes back! The other heroes in the book are the internet, Google Earth and Facebook! It is a great tribute to these wonderful technologies which make it possible for the adult Saroo to sit ten thousand miles away in Hobart, Australia and exactly locate the water tower and overpass of his childhood memory and find out the correct name of his village. Let no one denounce technology again! I found the book moving, inspirational and one of hope and the indomitable spirit of the humankind. It is a story of triumph against great odds. Going through the early chapters where Saroo survives for six weeks as a five-year-old in Calcutta, I had palpitations as I felt anxious that nothing terrible should befall young Saroo! The book also has a special appeal for me since I grew up in India and lived for 13 years in wonderful Australia.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Woman Reading

    Remarkable circumstances displayed little Saroo's proverbial 9 lives of a cat (or lion cub). A young child went off with his teenaged brother for an evening adventure, and neither returned home. This is the stuff of parental nightmares, no matter which country of residence. But this situation was worsened by the limited circumstances of both the family and their nation. In rural India in the mid-1980s, the two brothers separated after Saroo, the younger boy, was instructed by 14 year old Guddu to Remarkable circumstances displayed little Saroo's proverbial 9 lives of a cat (or lion cub). A young child went off with his teenaged brother for an evening adventure, and neither returned home. This is the stuff of parental nightmares, no matter which country of residence. But this situation was worsened by the limited circumstances of both the family and their nation. In rural India in the mid-1980s, the two brothers separated after Saroo, the younger boy, was instructed by 14 year old Guddu to wait for him inside the train station. After waking from a nap, Saroo was anxious and boarded a train looking for Guddu. Saroo did not find his brother. When he finally exited the train, he was about 1,000 miles from home, in a part of the vast subcontinent that spoke a language different than in his home state. A Long Way Home is his account of his early childhood, survival on the streets of Calcutta (today's Kolkata), adoption by an Australian couple, and a reunion, 25 years late, with his biological family. Saroo's family had been abandoned by Saroo's father. In the mid-1980s, his family consisted of his mother, two older brothers and a younger sister. His mother's wages as an unskilled laborer weren't enough to keep the family fed. So his two older brothers also hustled on the streets, leaving Saroo in charge of their youngest sister. Hunger and poverty steal your childhood and take away your innocence and sense of security. I could envision the squalor and see how those circumstances could cultivate strong survival instincts. I do not doubt that the street urchins of India faced dangers from those who wanted them for organ harvesting, sexual abuse, or other criminal rackets. But I had difficulty in believing every early childhood vignette, such as Saroo being hired to transport 10 huge watermelons by himself. Human memory is a slippery thing as any trial lawyer would attest. Psychologists have found that we can invent "memories" because our imaginations are so powerful. But strong negative events can also sear themselves into memory. I believe the basic outline of Saroo's story but also suspect some embellishment during his early years. Saroo himself admits the holes in his memory when he replicated his childhood train journey. There were inconsistencies - from the likelihood of changing trains to the amount of time that had truly elapsed. Saroo had also forgotten his own name, which was "Sheru" ("lion" in English). I most question the issue of Saroo's age. He asserted that he was five when he became lost. But in chapters 2 and 11, his siblings' ages do not concur. In the former, there's a gap of 9 years between him and Guddu, but in the latter, the difference is only 6 years. I find the childhood tales to be more plausible of a child older than 5 years. My doubts, however, don't detract from Saroo's ultimate message. My return seemed to inspire and energize the neighborhood, as though it was evidence that the hard luck of life did not have to rule you. Some time miracles do happen. ... providing me with an unshakable faith in the importance of family - however it is formed - and a belief in the goodness of people and the importance of grasping opportunities as they are presented. I liked A Long Way Home, as it was an easy, straightforward read. I was interested in his second parents' motivations, which were quite exceptional. This bio had some introspection from Saroo. But when I consider his extraordinary circumstances, this memoir didn't elicit a very strong emotional response from me, hence my rating of 3.5 stars.

  30. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    ‘A Long Way Home’ describes an early childhood in India which is beyond imagination for most Americans. The poverty of poor people in India is incredible and horrendous. But some escape it. Saroo Brierley was adopted from an Indian orphanage by a Tasmania couple eager for children. From the age of five or six (he does not know the day of his birth), Saroo was cared for and loved by the Brierleys, and given needed medical care (internal parasites and a tapeworm). After a normal Western world upbri ‘A Long Way Home’ describes an early childhood in India which is beyond imagination for most Americans. The poverty of poor people in India is incredible and horrendous. But some escape it. Saroo Brierley was adopted from an Indian orphanage by a Tasmania couple eager for children. From the age of five or six (he does not know the day of his birth), Saroo was cared for and loved by the Brierleys, and given needed medical care (internal parasites and a tapeworm). After a normal Western world upbringing, he was sent to college by his adoptive parents, after which he worked for his father as a salesman selling pipes and hardware. Saroo was haunted by what he remembered of his earlier life and his Indian family, which consisted of his Hindu mother and three siblings. His father, a Muslim, had deserted them for another woman. Unlike most orphans, Saroo thought his original family must still be alive somewhere in India. He was not really an orphan. The story of how he ended up in an orphanage is amazing, but not as amazing as how he, virtually a toddler, survived on the streets of Calcutta after he could not find his house because he got lost. (view spoiler)[He had accidentally been locked in a train car after he had taken what he thought would be a temporary rest and nap. He woke up hours later, and he was horrified to discover the train was moving. (hide spoiler)] He knew his first name, but he was not able to articulate the name of his family or the original town he lived in. Ending up in Calcutta, India, perhaps only five years old, Saroo lived alone on the streets for several months. He picked up what food he could from begging, digging in garbage and stealing. (view spoiler)[Once he escapes from a man who possibly was a trafficker. At last, after many grownups and teen hoodlums attack or threaten him, he finally gets help when a caring adult takes an interest in saving him. (hide spoiler)] By then, he was as skittish as feral animal and starving, but as readers have already learned, he eventually becomes an Aussie. Now thirty years old, computer literate and wealthy by Indian standards, Saroo yearned to find his birth mother. His girlfriend and Tasmania family were afraid he would be disappointed, but once he obsessively began examining the area around Calcutta with Google Earth from his desk in Australia, there was no stopping. He had loved his original family, so he needed to know where they were and what had happened to them. Or had it all been too long ago, his memories wrong? Could Google Earth find his original home? Indians had Facebook accounts as well. Could any of them bring clarity to the fragments of memory he still had? India is a nation trying to overcome sexism and religious discrimination and too many people with not enough money or space for them. Also, although people are just plain fricking mean the world over, poverty, lack of education and many religions really seem to give some people permission for extra cruelty. This autobiography is fascinating, informative, and compelling. However, the descriptions of Indian poverty are chilling, so there are some difficult and unbelievably disgusting real-life events. I was informed by people a movie titled 'Lion' was developed from this book. It turns out Saroo means Lion! I very much am interested in seeing it after reading 'A Long Way Home'. Holy cow, what a story! No pun intended. Well, maybe a little one.

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