Friday, January 12, 2018

Passing judgement (Lion)

I have read, taken notes, and carefully thought about "Lion" by Saroo Brierley. Now, it's time to pass some judgement on it.

My reading of this book (along with these posts) has all been part of a large novel study that my class has been taking part of called "Global Issues Novel Study", or "GINS". After finishing (and loving) this book, I think that it's a great book to have in this study! It looks at issues such as child abuse, homelessness and international wealth discrepancies. Since this study is all about books talking about global issues, this seems like a great candidate.

The next question is, well, "is it a good read"? My opinion is: 9/10 read, absolutely worth reading! It's actually quite amazing how a person's real, unedited experiences and LIFE could fit into a novel so well. Not only that, but as far as I'm aware, Saroo has never written a book since he works as a businessman with his father, John Brierley. The story is portrayed beautifully, and it is definitely worth perusing. Also, for readers who prefer a short book, you're in luck, because the book is only 273 pages long!

This book is not for people with weak stomachs. There is starvation, dead bodies, getting run over, abduction, and such. This book is for someone who doesn't mind a relatively small read, and likes adventure and near death experiences.

That's all from me.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A photoshop finish (Lion) (SPOILERS) (Finale)

A photoshopped room of objects related to the story "Lion" by Saroo Brierley.

As a final project for our Novel Study, we were required to either do word art or make a room that reeks of references and hints to the book. I chose the room, not only because I have some experience with photoshop, but also because I thought it would be more fun to do. So let's start with the obvious things.

On the left by the window, I added a map of India with 2 pushpins on it. Next to the map, I added a jar just for filler. The pushpins on the map may seem randomly placed, but they've actually been placed approximately where Saroo's home in Khandwa is, and Kolkatta, where he got off of the train at and had to survive the difficult trials it's streets threw at him.

On his desk is a laptop with google Earth on it (need I explain more?) and two photos on his desk, one with the family he accidentally and temporarily left behind, and the one who treated him right in their place. On the right of the room, you see two posters of rock bands, along with a white guitar on it's stand in front of them. This is a hint at Saroo's teenage days, when he was obsessed with electric guitar and rock. The guitar is the closest thing I could find to his, since the photo taken of him only shows the neck and a tiny part of the body.

I added a photo of Saroo at Nava Jeevan (which I believe to be his first photo) above his desk, because I thought he might have it somewhere to remind him of his past at Nava Jeevan, maybe even the shooting of the photo, and that would trigger some other memories.
Saroj Sood (center) with Asra (left) and Saroo (Right)

Now, here are some of the extreme intentional choices and attention to detail. I had searched up a clock which hands represent 6:30. This is because in chapter 9, Saroo says it was during March after dinner that he found his home on Google Earth. That wasn't the only hint. I also made it look darker outside of the window, just barely darker than day (as a March evening would be).

But I'm not done yet. He also mentioned one more thing that I decided to put in. When he found his home, he was sitting on his sofa. Because of that little detail I remembered, I had chosen to replace an office chair with a sofa chair, as seen right in front of his desk.

That's all from me on Lion. I appreciate the people who have been following along with my posts, and reading what I have to say on the novel. Goodbye, and happy reading!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Lion through a mother's eyes (Lion) (SPOILERS)

The one that caught my attention the most was his mother, because she seemed to be brought up more than his father. I later realized that this was because of how she was treated by her father as a kid (there was a chapter in which Saroo described his mother's past in great detail). I believe that this was not only what convinced her to adopt a child, but when she learned about Saroo's childhood in greater detail after Saroo decided to tell his family all about it, she had learnt that Saroo too had been mistreated by his father, and was even more motivated to help Saroo find his blood family.

In the Novel "Lion" (which I have been doing a novel study on for about the past month), we are introduced to one Major character: Saroo, who is also the writer of the novel. As the story progresses, we are introduced to more and more characters, some only being mentioned in a couple sentences, some lasting a few pages, and then, we are introduced (finally) to Saroo's Australian parents.

Photo of Saroo Brierley (center) with parents John (left) and Sue (right) Brierley
Saroo mentions that "they simply said they wanted 'a child'", and they had no restrictions on what "kind of child" they wanted. All they did was sign up and leave the preference sheet blank, so that they could give any child a happy life, no matter what their origin, sex, age, etc. Luckily for Saroo, he got Sue and John as his new, adoptive parents.

I imagine through Sue's eyes, as she saw Saroo grow up with his younger adopted brother Mantosh, she saw his want to find his original family grow and shrink. But no matter what Saroo wanted, it seemed that she supported him. When Saroo was just adopted, both John and Sue seemed very interested and keen to find where Saroo had grown up. Unfortunately, they had no luck. They only got as far as getting Saroo to draw his old neighborhood very... roughly.

Because of Sue's past experiences with family, I think that she was more motivated than any other parent could be to make a child's life perfect, which is why she supported Saroo more than any other "normal" parent could (even John).

Saroo's map of his neighborhood and walk to the station.
When the time came and Saroo found his hometown at around the age of 29 (I believe Saroo said it took him about 6 months to convince himself to book the flight, so he met his original family at 30), she was nervous to think of her first son go. She must have worried that he would not come back if he did find his family, or if he didn't find them, he would become extremely upset or go into a depression.

Skipping to after his return from Khandwa, Saroo mentioned that Kamla, his Indian mother, had thanked Sue and John, for raising him into a great man. That must have been an extremely heartwarming thing to know for Saroo's Ausralian parents, Sue especially.

So there we have it, how I imagine the story of Saroo's incredible adventure through his Australian mother's eyes. My next (and final Lion post) will be a bit of an art project. Thank you for reading!

Monday, January 1, 2018

How would the Charter of Rights and Freedoms affect the story? (Lion) (SPOILERS)

So far, I have been informing all of you on my experience reading the novel Lion by Saroo Brierley. He's been through hard times and good times, near death experiences and luxury, and much, much more. But in this post, we'll be looking at all of the above and seeing how Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms would have affected the story had it been in place throughout his life.

Now, It would be a bit odd if the Charter had affected him in both India and Australia, so I'm going to say that the Charter had only been in affect in India. Another thing we'd have to change is the parts that say "in Canada", because Saroo, in the ENTIRE story, had never been to Canada, though it was mentioned in his mother's story. Now, without further ado, let's begin.
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The map of Saroo's journey across India, along with the railway which he got lost on as a 5-year-old.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (for those of you who don't know) is pretty much a permanent law and statement that says a lot of stuff that I won't get into. If you'd like to learn more, please click here.

To be honest, the Charter would not have affected him that much (even if it were instated in both Australia and India). The only part that would have affected him greatly would be the "Fundamental Freedoms" section. If that were instated, his family would not have been forced into converting to Muslim (since the Charter states that opinions and religions cannot infringe on other people's opinions and religions). Honestly, that's the only part I can think of. For those of you reading now, I will probably update this post at a later date with more ways our Charter would affect Saroo and his families, but for now, that's all. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the next 20%!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Surprise (Lion Novel Study) (SPOILERS)

2/5 the way through the book, I'm finding not too many surprising things for a 5 year old living in India. But, what I wasn't expecting came right at the 2/5 milestone. After multiple years of eating scraps off the streets, chewing on disgusting leftovers, fighting for snacks, and overall consuming food in horrible condition, he was checked up after he arrived in Hobart, and it turns out he was in a much more horrible condition that all the other kids. Not only did he have parasites all over his body, but in his intestine, he had a tapeworm!
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Saroo Brierley (Character & author of this novel) as a 5-year-old in Hobart, Tasmania.

In all of the 110 pages that I read from the book, that was the most surprising event. Knowing that poor Saroo had parasites in his flesh, and worms in his tracts. Oh, did I forget to mention that he had a heart murmur to go along with that? For those of you who don't know, a heart murmur is when your heart is making odd noises instead of the regular "thu-thump, thu-thump", like swishing. Yes, little Saroo got it bad, but in the end, Saroo got it better than any of the other children adopted, and most definetely the ones who weren't so lucky. I am thrilled to be reading this book, and I look forward to my next blog post!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

About the Character (Lion by Saroo Brierley) (SPOILER ALERT)

The book "Lion" is a real series of events put into a book in as much detail as possible. This book is about the author, Saroo, getting lost on a train in India at age 5, ending up with a middle-class in Australia, and, after 25 years, reuniting with his family once more. Within the very first half of the book, we get a bit of information on his very early life with his new family, the Brierley's, and a surprising amount of detail on the first 5 years of his existence in a family of starving people, living with his mother, Kamla, younger sister, Shekila, and two older brothers, Guddu and Kallu.

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Saroo Brierley (Middle) with niece, Nasim (left) and mother, Kamla (right).
At one fifth through the book (which is where I am when writing this blog post), his eldest sibling, Guddu, lets Saroo come along with him on his job hunt. After a long train ride, Saroo is exhausted. Guddu get's off of the train they had ridden and tells Saroo that he must stay right where he is. Saroo falls asleep, but wakes up and looks around the carriage, with Guddu nowhere in sight. Convincing himself that Guddu is somewhere on the train cleaning for rupees, he falls asleep, this time without any disturbances.

After a long sleep, he wakes up only to find that the train is moving, and he's locked alone in his carriage. After a lot of panicking, screaming, cursing, and crying, Saroo finally settles and watches the train quickly pass town after town. But Saroo realizes, every town is getting closer and closer packed, more buildings, more streets, and less fields. Then he gets off at what he later discovers is the megacity of Hobart. This is where the book leaves off.

The book is absolutely hooking, and I am absolutely hyped to read more. After another fifth of the book is complete, I will discuss the book once more.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Studying "Lion", by Saroo Brierley

Image result for lion book
I am starting (with my class) a novel study on a book of our choice (from a small selection). All of the books chosen have to common theme of global issues.

When our librarian was describing some of the books in the choice pool, this one caught my attention. I'm not sure why, and I'd never even heard of this book before now. But something about the story makes it seem like a good read, though it has only 273 pages of story.

It's about the author, Saroo Brierley, and how he got lost as a 5-year-old on a train. He survived through unlikely odds and ended up as a middle-class Aussie. After 25 years and a ton of luck (and Google Earth), he found his way back home to his family.

I am pretty excited to start reading this novel, and I hope it's better than the last novel study we did on the "House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.