The Full Enjoy {Book Club}

How’s it going with Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo? I find myself wanting to wander the streets of Annawadi and talk with folks.

This stuck out to me from the end of chapter 3:

“Abdul seemed relieved at this choice, though Sunil could never read all of what that old man of a boy was thin king. Kalu didn’t press him either, which was good, because Sunil wasn’t sure that his reasoning would make sense to anyone else. It had something to do with the fact that, on the most profitable day of his life, he’d failed to reach the state of exhilaration that other boys called ‘the full enjoy.’ The strangled she-dog had been only part of it. He sometimes said of being a scavenger, ‘I don’t like myself, doing this work. It’s like being an insult.’ He thought he might like himself even less, being a thief.”

Have you had a profitable experience only to find out it wasn’t quite what you thought it would be? Or that it might be leading to down a path where you didn’t like who you were becoming?

Because this takes place in a community, it might be easy to get lost in all of the names. But have no fear! Wikipedia has a helpful list and brief description of people mentioned in the book. It might be helpful to print it out (or at least know you can refer to it!).

We’ll discuss the full book at the end of July.

Happy reading! Amy


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Photo Credit: broterham via Compfight cc


  1. Shelly July 15, 2014

    Amy, that paragraph caught my attention as well.  As to your question, nothing comes immediately to mind.  Well, maybe my upcoming time in the US might be anticipating “the full enjoy” and I am likely not going to find it in the ways I am anticipating. Then again, does realizing the unlikelihood of getting it minimize the potential of experiencing it? We’ll see…

    The book is disturbing and frustrating in the way the caste system causes even the lowest in society seem to separate themselves into “better than” or “worse than” categories, and all layers of society seem to be bent on manipulation and corruption.  India seems so broken from the vantage point of Annawadi. I have just completed chapter 6, at which point the beginning is catching up with itself at last. What will happen??

  2. Amy Young July 15, 2014

    Shelly, maybe the full enjoy, on something like time in a home country that is supposed to be restful can look like quiet walks, unexpected beauty, and other parts that are unknown. In light of the recent suicide of my friends’ son, I’m realizing for me ‘the full enjoy’ are most often found in the small and ordinary.

    Now, as to the caste system. Yes, yes, yes to frustrating! I’d love to hear from some of you living in India. How do you live there and not have it impact your soul (too much, I’m sure it impacts you). Or impact the ways your kids think and view the world. I have good Indian friends where I am and I was surprised at some of the ways my Christian friend discussed “those” people in this book. (AND I know we all do it when it comes to our own culture. We all have blind spots and prejudices).

  3. Kimberly July 15, 2014

    I couldn’t manage to slow down and just had to finish it off this week! 🙂 That phrase so aptly describes Abdul to me ‘that old man of a boy’. We’ve known many kids who’ve grown up so quickly in such a way. I find it painful to watch them struggle and not try to do something. But it’s a good painful. Ignoring the reality of the world’s Abdul’s is not the ‘full-enjoy’, it is fake.

    I can’t help but wonder what Abdul gets out of his story being written and read all over the world…

    1. Amy Young July 18, 2014

      Kimberly, what a great wonder … what does Abdul get out of his story being shared? I’ll join you in it! And I understand the need/desire to get the book read :).

  4. Brittany July 18, 2014

    I’m bummed to not participate in this month’s book…just too much going on!  I hope to pop in here and there and see what ya’ll are learning and I’m hoping to be back for the next one.  =)

    1. Amy Young July 18, 2014

      Some months are like that :). Regardless, we’d love to have you pop in and said hi!

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