When finishing a book as powerful as "Behind The Beautiful Forevers" (2012), my processing often
interferes with the next thing I try to read. Katherine Boo's startling debut created an additional barrier as I started reading a new book - intense guilt.
I recognize feeling guilt about unrelenting poverty in the developing world - Boo lived in a Mumbai "undercity" for over three years to research this moving non fiction account of the downside to globalization - is a silly a middle class indulgence. But denying my guilt does not make it go away. "The poor blame one another for the choices of governments and markets, and we who are not poor are ready to blame the poor just as harshly." I'm sure this talented author was aiming higher than inducing guilt in readers. But that sentence - from the end notes - had that effect on me as I closed her book. And I'm not even particularly susceptible to blaming the poor.
Does guilt motivate you? I guess it has moved me to action more than once and perhaps the same thing will happen now that I've read "Behind The Beautiful Forevers". Still, I welcome the day when I'm motivated by something more noble.