Lion by Saroo Brierley
Lion is the true story of how 5 year old Saroo gets lost in India and is ultimately adopted by an Australian couple and moved across the world, the book follows his journey as he tries to get back to his family 25 years later.
Im a sucker for a true story, especially one that can make me weep like a little girl. This made me happy in parts and sad in others, it really was a roller coaster of emotions! I felt so immersed in the story and that doesnt happen to me very often.
Saroo comes from an extremley poor family in India, his father left him and his siblings for another woman meaning his mother worked long hours 6 days a week. His two older brothers also went out doing odd jobs and scavaging for food so that Saroo and his little sister could eat. One night Saroo's older brother is going out to clean at the train station to earn a little money and Saroo decides that he wants to go too. As his older brother goes off to work leaving Saroo sleeping on a bench, when he doesnt return Saroo is left stranded with no way of getting home. Saroo doesnt know his last name or the town that he lives he is lost with no way of getting back. He boards the nearest train and gets stuck in the carriage, he then travels half way across India.
This story isnt for the faint hearted, Saroo lives on the streets for several months before he ends up in the childrens home that leads to his adoption. He faces many issues whilst living on the streets, he is constantly hungry and scared whilst searching for a safe place to sleep. I often found myself welling up whilst reading.
When Saroo is finally adopted his new parents move him to their home in Australia where he must learn English and adapt to a western way of life. He slowly begins to tell his new parents his story and they encourage him to draw maps of his hometown and write down all his memories so he is unable to forget. Saroo adapts well to his new Australian life and doesnt begin his search for his family and hometown until he is in his twenties with the help of Google Earth he spends months trawling through the remote countryside of India searching for the train station that he once boarded a train which took him far away from home.
When he finally after months of searching finds what he believes to be his home he makes the decision to travel there to be sure and to also find his mother and siblings. Upon arriving in India he realises that he was correct and he had found his hometown. His mother had moved home but through a chance encounter with a man that spoke good English he was soon reunited with his mother. He was later reunited with his older brother and younger sister. He had many unanswered questions regarding why his brother hadnt come back for him the night he got lost but sadly his brother was involved in an accident that same night and had died. This made me cry more than any other part of the story.
As Saroo reconnects with his family he also tells them many stories of his new family and soon he introduces the two families.
This is such a heart warming page turning story. It reads as fiction as you cannot fathom that such a story is true and that it actually happened to a 5 year old who managed to survive. The happy ending is extremely
uplifting and you are left feeling euphoric by the end of the story.