Book Review Ganges Boy by Archana Prasanna

Ganges-cover-5-4Title: Ganges Boy

Author: Archana Prasanna

Genre: Fiction / Coming of Age / Drama

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Ganges Boy is a profound coming of age tale, set against the backdrop of the fascinating city of Varanasi, India. Kabir is an orphaned adolescent slumdog struggling to cope with the loss of his murdered mother. He tries to navigate the harsh reality of street life before getting submerged in a foreign world of luxury where he is forced to discover his own self-identity. The riches of his new life are overshadowed by the greed and immoral behavior he witnesses. This is the story of good and evil, riches and poverty, and the fight of a boy to keep his ideals no matter where he is. Kabir’s journey is emotionally engaging as his colorful experiences give insight into the lives of street children in Varanasi.

I don’t usually read coming of age books, or drama. I’m more for romance. The reason why I wanted to give this book a try was because the story appealed to me. Reading about street kids growing up in India is a welcome refreshment from all those books about paranormal creatures, doomed romances, and God knows what else.

I really enjoyed Ganges Boy. It’s a quick read, but very insightful. It talks about the ups and downs of Kabir, a young boy who loses his mother one faithful night. The circumstances of his mother’s murder are very unclear, and Kabir has to learn to live with the fact he’s now completely on his own. His days are filled with hard work and barely any rest. He has trouble founding relationships with people because of what happened to his mother. And then, his grandfather showed up, but the reunion is nothing like Kabir expected. His grandfather is a cold, business-like man in whose heart is no room for love.

Kabir is a strong character, mostly because he has to be. He goes through so many ordeals I immediately felt sorry for him. But instead of growing depressed or giving up, he continues to fight, always moving forward, always getting back up when he’s been slammed down. I really admired that about him.

The writing was decent, and the pacing was all right as well. It starts of a little slow as we get to know the setting, but picks up after a few chapters. If you’ve ever wanted to read something out of your regular comfort zone, give Ganges Boy a shot.

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