Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of A Long Way Home.
Did you enjoy reading this week? Once I got started, I felt like I couldn't stop. I just wanted to know what was going to happen to Saroo. Wasn't it so hard to read the train section where Saroo is separated from his family? I just kept picturing a little, tiny boy riding alone, and I couldn't imagine how scared he was. I know how scared I would be to be trapped in a train, not knowing where I was going, so I can't imagine how much harder it would be for a little boy!
This section was definitely the most action packed out of all of the sections. I feel like there are a million things to talk about! I guess I should just start at the prologue where Saroo begins with a major spoiler/cliffhanger. He starts the story as an adult who has arrived in India. He arrives at his family home, only to see that it's abandoned, but not all hope is lost, because a stranger in the crowd says that he can take Brierley to his mother. That's a pretty great way to start a story, right? Don't you just want to fly through the story, so you can pick up where the prologue leaves off?
The beginning chapters were hard to read from an emotional standpoint. It was hard to imagine a little boy experiencing such hunger and hardship. One of the saddest details was the fact that his little sister ate pieces of charcoal, so her belly wouldn't be empty. That broke my heart. I was also surprised by the fact that Saroo was responsible for the care of his sister, even though he was only 5 years old. It was shocking, too, that he felt comfortable leaving her alone, so he could accompany his brother, Guddu, on the train.
Guddu sold toothbrush kits on the railway platform--that sounds like a dangerous job. But, he agrees to let Saroo accompany him on a trip, and that's the decision that changes Saroo's life forever. He falls asleep on a platform, gets scared, tries to look for his brother on a train, and then is trapped. Eventually, he makes it to Calcutta, but once he's there, he encounters more and more dangerous situations. He almost drowns in the river, he almost gets hit by a train, and then, he is almost kidnapped by the railway worker and his friend that promised to help. That section, especially, made me really sad. I know there are a lot of horrible people who are looking to hurt others, but I couldn't stand reading about it. Saroo is so incredibly lucky that he had the maturity and street smarts to know that he should run away from those men. I can't believe he had to crawl in a sewer to escape, but I'm so glad he did.
Eventually, he is helped by a teenaged boy. I was so relieved that that boy actually ended up being a helper. Weren't you relieved when Saroo finally made it out of the detention center and was in the orphanage? The detention center seemed like a really dangerous place--did you catch the part where he said people were climbing over the walls to take children? But, the orphanage seemed wonderful. I'm so glad he was rescued by Saroj Sood. She seemed like an amazing woman.
I was relieved that Saroo was willing to go to a new family. I can't even imagine the bravery it took to make that decision. He took all of the changes in stride, it seemed. I was glad that his transition to Australian life seemed like a pretty seamless one. His adoptive parents seem really cool, and they were obviously the perfect people to have him. If you'd like to see how the Brierley meeting scene played out on the big screen, check out the clip below.
What stuck out to you the most in this first section? What surprised you the most? Did any of this first section make you feel really emotional? Make sure to leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of this first section!
Make sure to read chapters 6-9 before joining us next week! Thanks for reading with us this week!