LIFESTYLE | Shanataram Review



So my brother lent me Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts when I was in hospital but I only recently got round to reading it. He said it's one of the only books he's ever read so my expectations were high...and I wasn't disappointed! But I do still have some issues with it.

But let's start with the good! It's based on the true story of a man on the run from an Australian prison who finds himself in Mumbai. Once there he finds himself getting mixed up with the Mafia, running a free health clinic in the slums, acting in Bollywood films and even travelling to Afghanistan to help mujahideen fighters. It's wonderfully written, it was one of those books that kind of absorbs you where you feel like you're in that world, at that time. The characters, like the city, are all so colourful and despite there being so many of them I feel like they all deserved their place in the story if you get what I mean. It's a cliche, but it was real page-turner...there was always something exciting going on.

But then this is where the issues lay for me. While I was reading I felt like there was something iffy about the whole thing, as enjoyable as the story was. The author claims the events are based on his true experiences but I thought they were too far fetched...it seems I'm not the only one and there have been many people who have come forward to dispute his version of events. He makes himself out to be some kind of hero where everyone loves him but that doesn't appear to have been the case when you look it up (I expect we'll find out a lot more about this when the film version eventually comes out!) I did also find parts a little repetitive, Roberts kind of prattles on about his philosophical views at times which can get boring.

However putting aside the fact whether it's true or not, as a novel it's brilliantly entertaining and you'll fall in love with some of the characters. I'm definitely looking forward to the prequel and sequels that are due to be released at some point...I'll just be taking the claim that they're based on facts with a pinch of salt.

Have you read Shantaram? Sound like something you'd be interested in? If you have Goodreads let's be friends!
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35 comments:

  1. Finally someone else who has read it!!!! You're definitely right in saying there's going to be a movie, I've heard a few people saying it's probably on the cards! Such a good read and definitely nailed the plot!


    Stephi x


    Stephilareine.com

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  2. Ooh this sounds really good! I've been on the lookout for new novels to read, putting this one on my list :)

    Andini xx
    Adventures of an Anglophile

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  3. I absolutely loved Shantaram! It was a bit of a pain lugging it on the tube, but was worth it. I agree though that it was very far-fetched. In the end I read it as a story rather than a true version of events, but still very enjoyable!

    Beccy || Bluebell & Bumpkin

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  4. Oooh this does sound really interesting! And especially as your brother has read it and he barely reads! I think I'd have high expectations after someone like that said it was good! Great review :) xx

    Sam | Samantha Betteridge

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  5. Omg it sounds so dramatic! I wonder why he would elaborate the truth and then put it out there for so many people to read it & then obviously be like 'hmmm'..! I get bored of novels but this one sounds a bit controversial so maybe i'll give it a go! x
    Sarah-Jane xo // www.vmgirl.me

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  6. I read this last year and thought it was ace! I couldn't put it down!! Had no idea there was talk of making it into a film, birilliant!!

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  7. Thanks for this review, Josie:) Sounds like a good read, despite the "fictional" aspects of the story:D

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  8. I've never heard of this before. I wonder if he made some things sound worse when they were. That happened in a child called it and a million little fibers, I believe!


    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  9. I hadn't even heard of this book before I read your review, but it sounds really interesting. I love books that people have issues with or want to dispute, probably because I'm a lit student and it's my nature to question everything I read hahaha. I love book reviews though, and I'd definitely be interested in seeing you list a Top 5 of your faves! xxx

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  10. I have never heard of this book, and to be honest, I am not sure if it is my kind of book, but I might look into it. I do think that even with autobiographies, authors do tend to embellish to an extent, and in any case, one could argue the minute a present even becomes a memory it ceases to be completely factual, and so when we put those memories onto paper, they are already so far from the truth anyway - but I do think there is a limit to how much you can knowingly "lie" about - that book "A Million Little Pieces" faced a lot of criticism because of the embellishments for example.

    Rae | love from berlin

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  11. Just added you on Goodreads! I'll add this book to my shelf - thanks for the rec :) I hope you'll do some more book reviews in the future! xxx

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  12. I have never heard of this before, really, and I don't uderstand why now! It sounds like a great read, and I am so curious about all the flaws: they sound interesting. Need to read this! This is going on my readinglist asap!

    WritingMonique

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  13. I've never heard of this box before and I absolutely love finding new stories to read! This sound worth a try and the storyline is like anything I've heard before too :) x

    www.beyondthevelvet.blogspot.co.uk

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  14. i haven't heard of this book. it sounds really interesting! i might have to pick this up as my next read! :D

    katslovefashion.blogspot.com

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  15. This sounds intriguing I like books that are a page turner. Even if some of it was far fetch on the whole you sound like you enjoyed it. So worth a read Lucy x

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  16. My boyfriends mum was reading this and said it was absolutely brilliant. She was going to lend it to me but I completely forgot to pick it up. Kicking myself now! I'll have to grab it next time I visit. Though being a lit student I am quite a harsh critic so it may get on my nerves.... we shall see!


    www.catsincroptops.blogspot.co.uk

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  17. I am intrigued by this story and his life now. I guess we either see ourselves as heros or as horrible entities and completely unworthy. I started feeling sorry for the author once you made mention how people are coming out and disputing his claims. And sure they may be fabricated but something inside of me rooting for him. I must read this!

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  18. I've never heard of this book but it sounds so interesting! Although I'd constantly be wondering what actually happened haha xx

    Toasty

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  19. I can't wait, I know they'll have to miss loads out but I bet it'll still be amazing x

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  20. It's definitely one that gets people talking! Thank you, I'll defo be putting up more book reviews soon! x

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  21. I agree there can be embellishments but he's been accused of completely making up events such as setting up a free health clinic which I think is a different thing! I'd love to know the truth, I hope it comes out one day. x

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  22. Aw yay, can't wait to have a nose of what you've read! I'm defo planning to do some more once I've read some more books! x

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  23. It was really gripping, defo read it if you get the chance! x

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  24. Despite my issues with it I do think it's a must read! x

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  25. It was like an epic, it had action, romance, humour...loved it! x

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  26. It was definitely interesting, really action packed! x

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  27. Definitely, whether it's true or not the story is really entertaining! x

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  28. You'll definitely have to get it next time you see her! I'd love to know what you think :) x

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  29. I think we all deserve second chances and I can totally see why he'd what to fabricate the truth! Although on the other hand I do see why it might annoy people. It's definitely a must read whatever side you're on! x

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  30. It really was! I can't wait to see the film when it's eventually made, maybe then we'll discover more of the truth x

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  31. Oh man, there seems to be a fair few books supposedly based on true events but they're actually porky pies! This sounds pretty action-packed, definitely one that's going on my to-read list! xo

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  32. ooooh this sounds interesting! Definitely think i'll give this a go, I'll just keep in mind that I need to read it as fiction hahah xx

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  33. I read this book when I was travelling a few years ago and it kinda became a running joke between me and my friend. I really hated it! I thought it was so cringe and philosophical parts you mention above were just too much for me. Not to mention the way he solves every life-threatening problem by getiing into a 'karate stance'. Haha - rant over!

    Faye x

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  34. Haven't got to this yet but a few friends have mentioned it (but with the same disclaimer you have - a bit far fetched and rambly in places!)


    I'll give it a go though I think, sounds like one hell of a story.
    M x Life Outside London

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