India is a country with possibility and danger. Recently I read about how farmers throughout India are going bankrupt and killing themselves because they borrowed money for seeds (made by Monsanto so they are not self seeding and must be bought every year) but their crops didn't meet expectations so they owe money, more than they can make, and have no options. The story begins by telling the tale of how Gopal's family cope. The family of Gopal deals with that tragedy by leaving their village in the middle of the night and going to the big city of Mumbai, chasing the dreams a big city can offer. Things are not what they hoped and they are separated. Gopal’s naiveté gets him trapped in slave labor with several other boys who are so guarded, it seems impossible to find any happiness or companionship.
This is a story that is a bit disjointed...has a lot to say about India today but half the book is the set up--the explanation of the family, the situation, the setting--and the other half is Gopal’s experience as a slave laborer. Liked it because it’s a story that should be told, but would have liked a more focused story. Grades 4-7