It is time, once again, for one of my favorite community events, the One Book, One Community (OBOC) kickoff. OBOC is in its sixteenth year! No small feat. As a librarian, I love that the community and Michigan State University students come together to talk about a book and the themes in that book.
This year’s book is A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. A Long Way Home is based on the true story of author Saroo Brierley’s incredible journey from India to Australia and back again. After becoming separated from his brother, five-year-old Saroo boards a train in rural India in his desperate and frightened search to find his family. Saroo falls asleep and awakens to find himself traveling across the countryside thousands of miles away from everything he has ever known. He ends up on the notoriously rough streets of Calcutta, where a different language is spoken and homeless children are invisible to most. Unable to understand Saroo’s pronunciation of his hometown, authorities eventually declare him a lost child and he is adopted to a couple, Sue and John Brierley, in Australia. Raised in their home, Saroo’s past slides away, but is never truly forgotten. As he grows into adulthood, he feels he is a person of two worlds - one of which is lost to him. Where did he come from and what about the family he left behind? Saroo turns to modern technology to search for his birth family and home. Following train lines in India on Google Earth maps and using bits of fragmented memory, Saroo eventually finds the place he came from and returns to India, where he is reunited with his birth mother and other members of his family.
Saroo’s story is one of determination, the unfailing love of family and the universal need to know our origins. His story became a media sensation and led to his book, A Long Way Home, and the Oscar-nominated film, Lion, starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.
The selection of A Long Way Home, coupled with this year’s theme, Lost & Found: A Journey of Self Discovery, furthers the OBOC program’s goal of bringing the East Lansing-MSU community together to discuss compelling books that deal with the complex issues of our day. We look forward to welcoming author Saroo Brierley to our community at the end of August and hearing the community discussions that take place around the themes in his book.
Join us for the kickoff of the One Book, One Community events on Sunday, August 27 at 7pm at the Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road, with Saroo Brierley. Following his remarks and a moderated question-and-answer session, Brierley will sign books for attendees. On Monday Aug. 28 at 9 a.m., Brierley will address MSU’s incoming class at the Academic Welcome in the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, 1 Birch Road. Both events are FREE to the community. Copies of “ A Long Way Home” will be for sale at the Hannah Community Center just prior to Brierley’s talk.
Sixteen Years of the One Book, One Community East Lansing Titles in chronological order from most recent to oldest.