Review: Lion: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
My Happy June reading has included one non-fiction book – Saroo Brierley’s extraordinary story of how he finally rediscovered his home and family in India, 25 years after he became lost as a five year old and was adopted by the Brierleys in Tasmania.
The movie Lion became one of the biggest feel-good films of 2016, and as a bonus gave us so many delightful, joyful pictures of Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar being outrageously adorable together.
The book contains more detail, more subtlety and more depth than the film, naturally. The film also ends more or less at the point where Saroo is reunited with his mother (I’m assuming that this is a spoiler for no-one). Saroo Brierley’s memoir goes on to talk about the aftermath of that meeting, including meeting his nieces and nephews and going back to Kolkotta for the first time since he was a tiny boy, almost eaten alive by that teeming city.
I actually heard of Brierley’s story years before, in a national newspaper (probably The Age) covered it. Having been lost so young and unable to find his way back home to his village, Saroo never forgot his family or the places he knew growing up. As an adult in Tasmania, living when Google Maps opened up the chances of retracing his steps, Saroo did just that.
It’s a marvellous story of serendipity and grace meets technology, perseverence and unconditional love. Brierley’s clear, unfancy prose combines with his vivid memories to paint the story of his life, which turned out to be so extraordinary.
If you’ve already watched and loved Lion, the book adds depth and detail, and is a charming, quick read. Pretty perfect for a Happy June read!
Buy Lion: A Long Way Home
- A Long Way Home: A Memoir (Amazon.com)
- Lion: A Long Way Home (Penguin)
- Lion: A Long Way Home (Booktopia)
- Lion: A Long Way Home (Book Depository)