This review was written 4/3/09
This review contains minor spoilers for the film Slumdog Millionaire
Former tiffinboy Ram Mohammad Thomas has just got twelve questions correct on a TV quiz-show to win a cool one billion rupees. But he is brutally slung in prison on suspicion of cheating. Because how can a kid from the slums know who Shakespeare was, unless he is pulling a fast one. In the order of the questions on the show, Ram tells us which amazing adventures in his street-kid life gave him the answers. From orphanages to brothels, gangsters to beggar-masters, and into the homes of Bollywood’s rich and famous, Ram’s story is brimming with the chaotic comedy, heart-stopping tragedy and tear-inducing joyousness of modern India.
I’d seen the film of this before reading the book. I was a little concerned because I tend not to enjoy books when I’ve seen the film first (and vis versa), it didn’t matter with this one though because they were quite a bit different, pretty much only the basis premise were the same. None of the stories were the same (although one was almost the same) but there were some similarities.
(Highlight for spoiler) There was a love story in both, although it was more major in the film- it was pretty much just one of the ‘stories’ in the book whereas the love story in the film linked everything together
in a way I thought the film was better in this way as it meant all the little stories were linked together. In the book you could well have read each story as a seperate story. This made it a bit easier to put down than other books, which is both a good thing and a bad thing! It made it easier to stop if I needed to, but it also meant I was less compelled to pick the book up again when I had finished a chapeter.
this I thought the book did better, in the film it was just a comedy story, in the book it was a little amusing but it had more substance too.
I did find one of the stories in the book kind of boring, and found I read slower at this point. (Highlight for spoiler) It was the story when the soilder is telling his story. I have read books about war, which I do generally like but this was all battle discription really
and I found it dragged a bit. In fact I did find myself generally getting more bored towards the end, I think this may have been because everything was like a little story and I like to vary my reading a bit, it kind of felt like I was reading lots of the same stories all after the other. But by the end I had warmed up to it a bit more.
This was a lovely book which, despite its imperfections, I wouold recommend. There is a bit of everything in this story, and it really paints a picture of life in quite a believeable way. I did find all the coincidences a bit unbelieveable though.
I would probably say I prefered the film, just because it flowed a little better, but it’s a close thing, and really it is difficult to compare them as they are very different.