The White Tiger (A Book Review)

the_white_tigerAt OhSoCleverReads I reviewed an extra book as a punishment for missing a goal. This is it:
I’ll try and do my best at remembering all of this book – but I read it about six months ago. However, I don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to recall everything – and no, I’m not being lazy. I just want to prove how important this book was to me through a raw account. What sticks to memory is usually the important stuff anyway… The rest you can just look up on Wikipedia (that’s what it’s for!).  
 
So.
 
In light of the Life of Pi film adaptation coming out, I wanted to highlight a book that talks about Indian religion, culture, etc. as well. Also, it involves a tiger too.
 
In fact it’s called The White Tiger. It’s by Aravind Adiga. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. And, more importantly, it’s good.
 
However! Even though I paralleled it to Life of Pi, don’t go into expecting something ‘fresh-faced’ and ‘enlightening.’ This isn’t fluff. It paints a very dark picture of India. It’s kinda like the Pulp Fiction of Indian literature (but don’t worry, it’s written in English…Did you know most Indian novels are? True story).
 
Also, where books like Life of Pi and Eat, Pray, Love tend to romanticize the Indian ‘way,’ this book doesn’t. It’s also tackling India from an Indian perspective, which gives it an added level of legitimacy (compared to the other titles mentioned). The book deals with Indian religion, politics, and culture in ways that keep you turning pages. It’s a very quick read. (So even though I say it paints a dark picture of India, don’t think it’s like a Bible-sized Rushdie novel or something).
 
The main character, Balram (or the White Tiger, whatever), is born into poverty. He attempts to become financially independent (which is nigh impossible for him) and in the process, helps his bosses cover up crimes, neglects his destitute family, and realizes he must kill in order to escape “the Darkness” that has him – and all of India – caged.
 
If you read this book you won’t get that tra-la-la all-religions-are-one bull crap that Life of Pi (god bless it) ultimately gives you. You will leave this book disliking the main character, yet completely sympathizing with him (this, in turn, will make you dislike yourself because you’re really no better than him). And lastly, you will see just how much influence the West has had on India and get a taste for how that actually can affect your life/beliefs.
 
Why should you read this work? Because it will teach you about India – the real India – in a way that is entertaining and meaningful.
 
Why might you dislike this work? Well, you might have a hard time digesting the gritty plot and the fact that a guy gets his throat cut in the very beginning (which I thought was AWESOME…I love excellent deaths).
 
Why do I like this work? [Answer will only make sense once you’ve read the book] Because I know what it’s like to touch people’s feet (and the fact I get so angry about it and actually haven’t experienced anything like Balram experienced makes me feel worse – I have no right to complain) [I don’t have a problem with feet, really].
Read the full review (+Hel’s review) at OhSoCleverReads. 
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