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Boys without Names Hardcover – January 19, 2010
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From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
I sat down with a small (relatively speaking) bowl of popcorn - no butter, a 1/2 glass of rootbeer and this book, "Boys without Names." I felt like I was at the movies - the action never let up. At one point, I was scared for the characters, tired from the non-stop narrative, and hungry like the boys, but I could not put the book down. I admit to scrounging for something else to nibble on as the plot thickened. I found some stale jelly beans on my desk (it's the end of August as I write this) and I never left my spot for the rest of the evening.
There was something magical about being wrapped up in the story and I didn't want to break the tension that seemed so fragile yet so gripping. Maybe the magic came in letting myself get caught up in the story. This story is about stories so I felt I owed it something - my time and my loyalty.
We all have our stories to tell. We all have stories to hide. And we have stories skewed by time and emotions. This story, "Boys without Names," reinforces the importance stories have in our lives. Whether they are fairy tales, classics or our own stories - we find common themes, love stories, and hero quests just plopped into different settings with a different supporting casts.
Paying attention to this story was a choice, just as paying attention to our own story is a choice. As a former elementary school librarian, I held stories like this ready for students to check out. Now I am a spiritual companion and I hold clients' "living stories" as they bring them to me. This book reminded me how important telling a story can be and how important it is to have someone listen to it - without interrupting.
Economic conditions drive Gopal and his family from their tiny village into life in the city of Mumbai. Their trip from village to city is complicated by lack of money and difficulty with the language. Gopal, his mother, and his twin brother and sister are forced to live for several days on the street when Gopal's father goes in search of the uncle who was supposed to meet them at the train station. Not able to read directions and street signs, Gopal's father is lost, leaving the remaining family to struggle on without him.
When they finally find him, Uncle Jama is able to provide food and shelter for them while he begins the search for Gopal's missing father. Gopal attempts to look for ways to earn money and help out. One day he meets a boy who promises work if Gopal will follow him immediately. Gopal is drugged and taken to a sweatshop, where he and five other boys are forced to make beaded picture frames by a cruel boss Gopal names Scar.
The boys work long hours, are given very little food, and are able to bathe only once a week. Their days and nights are spent breathing toxic glue fumes in a poorly lit, stuffy attic. At first they work quietly, each dreaming of returning to families they miss, but as the weeks and months pass, Gopal begins to tell the group stories to pass the time and soon the others add stories of their own. All the while, Gopal plots his escape. The idea of leaving becomes more complicated as the six boys become like a family. How can all of them manage to gain their freedom from under Scar's watchful eyes and locked doors?Read more ›
Arianna age 11
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My son (10) really loved it. Considering that he reads a lot, this is above averagePublished 9 months ago by Kirill
I loved this book! You won't be able to understand how fantastic it was until you read it! I recommend this outstanding book for 10-15 year olds.Published 10 months ago by Liv O'Brien
It was one I couldn't put down. I lived this book and I hope you will too.
One amazing book.
This book was really interesting and entertaining though at times depressing which is what the author wanted to evoke from readers,such as myself ,so we could have a sense of what... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Hannah
I read this book for as the fall selection for our middle school's local reading program. It was an excellent choice. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Stephanie Cockrum
I really love this book. Gopal is a compelling, positive, and compassionate character even in the face of horrific circumstances. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Timanda Wertz
My sixth grade son could not put this book down. It exposed him to a whole new world.Published 18 months ago by L.R. Pags