Book Information – No Longer a Slumdog
Author – K. P. Yohannan
Publisher – Gospel for Asia (2011, FREE!)
Before I get into the substance of this book, let me point out that you did read the headnotes correctly. No Longer a Slumdog really is free. I’ll admit that I am cynical enough to disbelieve that I would get a copy of this book without a catch of some sort. However, I requested the book through the weblink, and a few weeks later, my copy arrived.
It took me a couple of days to read this book, and I found it very moving. Yohannan has lived and worked in some of the poorest parts of India for years and within the pages of this book, he tells stories of the sorts of children he has encountered. These children come primarily from the lowest castes in Indian society, and their culture views them as unworthy and expendable. Accordingly, they are often denied education and sold into labor at an early age. The stories Yohannan tells of children maimed for use as beggars, or sold into hard labor and prostitution are absolutely gut-wrenching, and it broke my heart to learn that many of these street children have an average life expectancy of about 15 or so.
So, what makes such a bleak set of stories worth reading? The hope of the Gospel runs through this entire book, and that light contrasts sharply with the darkness. Yohannan understands his country and its culture and while he does not flinch from showing readers what horrors still flourish there, he also goes to great pains to share more hopeful stories. He tells of children who attend Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope centers, where they are given clean clothes, nutritious meals, education and exposure to the Gospel. Many of these children take what they have learned home to their families, and in this way, both children and adults have come to accept and worship Christ.
Seeing how so many have come to accept Christ and be saved made my heart happy. Yohannan also explains how the growth of the Christian religion has also led to growing acceptance of a need for change among those whose faith tells them that all believers are equal in God’s eyes.
This book is a bit light on theology and glosses over a few things, but since the primary aim is for it to serve as a testimony to the work God is doing in the hearts of children and their families in India, I didn’t see this as a serious weakness. As one might expect, part of the focus of this book lies in trying to convince readers to give to the work of Gospel for Asia. Again, I didn’t grade down too harshly for this because I know the book was written both to spread the news of God’s work at this mission and also to raise money for future work. However, toward the end of the book it did seem as though requests for sponsorship were repeated over and over.
Even so, No Longer a Slumdog is a very moving book. If you’re curious to learn about another culture and to see how God is working there, I definitely recommend it.
Rating – 4 stars