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The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India Paperback – June 30, 2011
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The Amazon Book Review
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India has a good chunk of the planet's population, but their stories often go unheard to western ears. "The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India" is an eye-opening and intriguing read.
About the Author
Shelley Seale is a freelance writer and author based out of Austin, Texas, but she vagabonds in any part of the world whenever possible. Shelley has written for National Geographic, USA Today, AOL, Seattle Times, and Andrew Harper Traveler Magazine among others. Her new book is How to Travel for Free (or pretty damn near it!) with Keith Hajovsky, which tells readers how the couple travels for weeks or months at a time on little to no money. Seale's previous books include the Insiders Guide to Seattle and The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India, which follows her journeys into the orphanages, streets and slums of India, where for millions of children the life portrayed in Slumdog Millionaire is their reality. Her mantra is "travel with a purpose."
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It is extremely well-written, and even though aspects of the story are difficult (children living in poverty, orphans, child labor, AIDS, etc.), Shelley writes so compellingly of the possibilities of change that I was filled with hope instead of despair. This is because of the way that Shelley presents her life-changing work in India, with the Miracle Foundation - as that of hope, joy, hard work, and best of all, the children that are the future of India.
The Weight of Silence is not only a story of a personal journey but the also journey of hundreds, thousands of street children - some of whom are lucky enough to be taken in by organizations and people that care. That these children have an opportunity for the future - and also to be kids again - is a miracle wrought by countless people who care and strive to change their world. In this book, we learn of precious children, and each one becomes important to us. We also learn of the dedicated people who care for these children, giving up wealth or a comfortable home to truly change the lives of so many. After you read the book, each photo will resonate with you - the smiling faces have meaning and context and joy.
One of the things I love best about this is the new epilogue, where Shelley follows up with many of the children that we came to know and love as we read the book. Hope DOES spring eternal - this was very powerful, and shows me that with care and connection, we CAN change the future for so many that need our help.
Thank you, Shelley, for writing such a powerful book that has touched the lives of so many, many people.
What I appreciated the most about the book was that Shelley doesn't see herself as anything special. She really just feels as though she is just doing her part, just doing what she can. That is what's great about the "invisible children of India" that she tells us about. We are able to see just how they are able to go unnoticed, how many of them became orphans due to circumstances outside of their control, and how they are able to still hold on to each other and the thoughts of a life that is better.
THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE is all about letting us know not just the pessimism that exists around us but how individuals are surviving each and every day. There are individuals---boys and girls---that you meet that you look at them and think that if you were in their circumstances would you be able to make it. For many of us the answer might be no, but learn how we can reward their determination to live as well as how our lives can be used to be of service to others and not just ourselves.
There's a lot of soul-searching that can be done by all of us, and I think what Shelley has done is continue a conversation that should never be too far from us. This is a book that will help you to appreciate life, acknowledge the power you have to make a difference and the importance of using that power to help others.
In "The Weight of Silence", the author does a remarkable job of unraveling the complex issues that drive India's spiraling population of unwanted children. Ms. Seale provides comprehensive and in-depth research regarding the abject poverty, rampant disease and cultural inertia that fosters such dire circumstances. But the book is not just about that. This book is about the children that are left in the wake of these issues. It's a book about individual children, their individual stories and the people that are committed to helping them.
Despite the bleak nature of the subject matter, this book is as much about hope as it is about tragedy. It provides the reader with a balanced view of the overwhelming need offset by the compassionate, heroic efforts of those that refuse to be overwhelmed by it. You will be heartbroken by what you read but you will be heartened by what is being done and what you can do to help.
Most recent customer reviews
Shelly interweaves her personal journey through the poorest areas of India with well researched and footnoted...Read more