The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
People tend to love or not care for this book. I'm sitting on the fence this time around. (Sorry Keke, I know it was your bookclub pick. I still think you are glorious!)
This is a story of an Indian man born into poverty. (I know, I know...it sounds like a million other books out there already.) The story is told through letters he writes to a Chinese premier who is scheduled to visit India. Balram, the main character, who escaped his life, family and responsibilities and graduated to somewhat better conditions, takes a job as a driver to a wealthier Indian businessman. He wants to tell his story to the Chinese premier in an effort to give him a more realistic view of the "two sides" of India that he lives in. Balram also confesses to some awful things he's done in order to create a better future for himself. (I won't get into it to avoid any spoilers.)
The main character is egotistical and annoying. It's difficult to care for him. The author, Aravind Adiga tries to insert sarcasm and humour throughout the book but it's not done well. I thought the story had it's interesting moments and I wanted to see what happened to all the characters in the book. I just didn't care much for the way it unfolded over seven days and nights of letter writing. The idea of this story being told through letters, especially with the vivid and lengthy descriptions was a tad unbelievable to me.
Great story telling idea - poorly executed.
Sadly, though I will say I enjoyed watching the ego of Balram/Munna inflate over time, I don't think this book stood a chance only because I recently devoured Gregory David Roberts' Shantaram.
So I'll end this brief review with a recommendation that you pick up Shantaram and give it a try.
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