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A Long Way Home: A Memoir Hardcover – June 12, 2014

239 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Amazing stuff.”—The New York Post

“So incredible that it sometimes reads like a work of fiction.”—Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost birthplace half a world away, his story made global headlines. That story is being published in several languages around the world and is currently being adapted into a major feature film. Brierley was born in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, India. He currently lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (June 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399169288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399169281
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Raghu Nathan on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book tells an amazing story. There is simply no other way to describe it. It is the real-life story of Saroo, a five-year-old child in a village in central India, who gets lost and finds himself transported all the way east to Calcutta, some 1800 kms away. Young Saroo, all of five, penniless and illiterate, does not even know the name of his village and knows little else about where he was from. He gets off at the bustling, crowded Howrah train station and survives for six weeks in the intimidating bad and mean streets of Calcutta by his instincts and luck. He ends up at a benevolent orphanage called ISSA, where the kindly Ms.Saroj Sood - tries to find his family and re-unite him. But all Saroo can tell was that he was from Ginestlay, which is what he remembered as his village's name. He also mistakenly says that he travelled just overnight by train when in reality he had travelled almost 24 hours to get to Calcutta. After a couple of moths' futile effort, Mrs.Sood pronounces him 'lost' and organizes him to be adopted by Sue and John Brierley, a young couple from Tasmania, Australia.

Saroo is lovingly brought up by the Brierleys and he grows up into a happy and well-integrated Aussie over the next 20 years. However Saroo always wonders about his origins, with clear memories of his birth mother Kamala, his kid sister Shekila and elder brothers Kallu and Guddu, whom he looked up to as a child two decades before. He starts working on trying to find where he was from by using the feeble memories of his childhood. All he had to go by was that there was a train station whose name was something like 'Berampur' , that it had a water tower, an overpass across the tracks and that the town had a fountain near a cinema.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Smiley on July 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This was simply the most amazing story on so many levels.

Back in 1986 five year old Saroo made a last minute decision to accompany his older brother on a short train trip to a nearby town in rural India. Although he was supposed to be babysitting his baby sister, Saroo risked his mother's wrath and left his humble home, not realising just what a journey he was about to make. Instructed to wait on the platform by his older brother, young Saroo was scared and confused when his older brother failed to return in the specified time. Deciding to make his own way home he hopped onto a waiting train - a train that would end up taking him half way across the country and far, far away from his family.

Alone on the streets of Calcutta, Saroo lives by his wits for several weeks before being rescued by a caring woman who runs a nearby orphanage. Although attempts were made to locate Saroo's family, the task was basically impossible given that they were so far away and young Saroo had so little information to give them. Within weeks Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple and is soon on his way to a new life in Hobart.

Although Saroo's life in Australia is a wonderful and fulfilling one, he cannot forget the family he left behind. Yet, he has so little to go on - just his own childish memories of the name of his own small village and the nearby town where he boarded the train. Then one day he comes across Google Earth and for the first time he realises he may just find his family after all. It is not an easy search though, it literally takes years of painstaking searching branching out from Calcutta and tracing every possible train route.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Space Salamander TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is, by its nature, a fascinating story. You don't need much more than the simple description on the cover to understand why-- it's a crazy premise that came to fruition thanks to modern technology.

The problem is that Saroo isn't a writer. The writing has no real style, and practically no dialogue or character development. I understand this must have been put together very quickly to capitalize on all the media going on around him, but it could have been a truly great book if he'd worked with a ghostwriter/co-author. As it stands, it's still an interesting book, but not one that kept me up at night or that I think I'll remember in any detail years from now. I was left wishing he'd gone deeper into the characters-- the descriptions are surface-y and never really let you hear anyone's voice.

That said, I admire Saroo quite a bit for his ability not only to survive, but to have a healthy attitude about all of it, to want to help his family and other orphaned kids in India, and to appreciate what his adoptive family did for him. He seems like a good guy who lived an extraordinary circumstance without really grasping just HOW extraordinary until he realized that the whole world wanted to know his story.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sascot on March 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Human suffering takes all forms but this autobiography goes a long way to restore the imbalances that normally occur. It is no small miracle that the child, Saroo managed to live long enough to write this at all, thanks largely to the love and kindness extended to him by his adopted parents in Tasmania. At one a simple tale of abject suffering this story has many facets, not the least of which is the monumental contrast between the grizzly poverty of Saroo's early years in India followed then by a 'western' education and upbringing in his adopted Australia. It is inevitable that the book is very Saroo-centric, a trap many autobiographies fall into but so heart rending are his experiences that I, as the reader, forgive him. As a bio, it is tempting to award the book 5 stars for subject matter -so huge are the issues that the author went through and I would like to think that writing this was cathartic for him. However, intensely moving tough the story of his first thirty years are, the momentum of some parts is lost, which is why I feel the three stars is about right.
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