Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young man recounts his incredible journey from being lost in India as a child to being reunited with his birth family years later.


In "A Long Way Home," Saroo Brierley shares his incredible and inspiring journey of being lost and then found. The memoir chronicles his early years in India, his accidental separation from his family, his harrowing experiences as a lost child, and his eventual adoption by an Australian couple. The narrative unfolds as Saroo embarks on a quest to reunite with his biological family, using Google Earth to trace his way back to his hometown. This emotionally gripping story explores themes of identity, resilience, and the unbreakable bonds of love.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story begins in the small Indian town of Khandwa, where Saroo lives with his family. At the age of five, he becomes tragically separated from his older brother, Guddu, and finds himself on a train that takes him hundreds of miles away to Kolkata. Unable to communicate in Bengali, Saroo experiences the harsh realities of street life, eventually leading him to an orphanage. He is later adopted by an Australian couple, John and Sue Brierley, and moves to Hobart, Tasmania.

Main Characters

Saroo BrierleyThe protagonist, who gets lost in India as a child and is later adopted by an Australian couple.
GudduSaroo's older brother who plays a significant role in the early part of the book.
John and Sue BrierleySaroo's adoptive parents, who provide him with a loving and nurturing home in Australia.

Story Points Over Chapters

The book is divided into several chapters, each capturing pivotal moments in Saroo's life.

Chapter 1: Home in India

Saroo recounts his early years in Khandwa with his family, providing insight into his close bond with his brother, Guddu, and the idyllic moments of their childhood.

Chapter 2: Lost in Kolkata

The narrative intensifies as Saroo finds himself alone in the bustling streets of Kolkata, unable to understand the language or navigate his way back home. He faces numerous challenges, including homelessness and exploitation.

Chapter 3: Adoption and Adjustment

Saroo's life takes a significant turn as he is adopted by the Brierleys and begins a new chapter in Australia. He grapples with adapting to a new culture, language, and family while never forgetting his roots.

Chapter 4: Unraveling the Past

Driven by memories of his biological family and a burning desire to find them, Saroo embarks on a quest to trace his hometown using Google Earth. His determination and resilience shine through as he navigates the complexities of his search.

Chapter 5: Reunion and Reflection

Saroo's relentless pursuit leads him back to India, where he finally reunites with his biological mother and siblings. The emotional reunion and the subsequent reflections on his journey form the poignant conclusion of the memoir.

Main Events

  1. Saroo's accidental separation from his family and getting lost in Kolkata.
  2. His adoption by the Brierleys and relocation to Australia.
  3. Saroo's utilization of Google Earth to trace his way back to his hometown in India.
  4. The emotional reunion with his biological family after years of separation.

Themes and Insights

Identity and Belonging

The memoir delves into Saroo's struggle to reconcile his dual identity as an Indian by birth and an Australian by adoption. It explores the profound impact of one's roots on their sense of self and belonging.

Resilience and Determination

Saroo's unwavering determination to find his way back home showcases the resilience of the human spirit. The narrative underscores the power of hope and perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Unbreakable Bonds

The bond between Saroo and his family, both biological and adoptive, serves as a central theme. The narrative highlights the enduring nature of familial love and the profound connections that transcend time and distance.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Long Way Home" offers readers a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the human experience. It provides a compelling insight into the complexities of identity, the resilience of the human spirit, and the enduring power of love and family bonds. Saroo Brierley's remarkable journey serves as an inspiring testament to the strength of the human will and the profound impact of home and belonging.


"A Long Way Home" is a profoundly moving memoir that resonates with readers on a deeply emotional level. Through Saroo's extraordinary odyssey, the book invites reflection on the universal themes of identity, resilience, and the unbreakable bonds of love. This captivating narrative not only chronicles a remarkable journey of loss and reunion but also serves as a testament to the enduring power of hope and the human spirit.

A Long Way Home FAQ

  1. What is 'A Long Way Home' about?

    A Long Way Home is a memoir by Saroo Brierley, recounting his journey from being lost as a five-year-old in India, to his adoption by an Australian family, and eventually using Google Earth to rediscover his hometown and biological family.

  2. What is the main theme of 'A Long Way Home'?

    The main themes of 'A Long Way Home' include identity, family, resilience, and the power of technology in reuniting people.

  3. Is 'A Long Way Home' a true story?

    Yes, 'A Long Way Home' is a true story based on the author's own experiences.

  4. What age group is 'A Long Way Home' suitable for?

    The book is suitable for young adult and adult readers, as it deals with mature themes and emotional content.

  5. Was 'A Long Way Home' adapted into a movie?

    Yes, 'A Long Way Home' was adapted into the film 'Lion' in 2016, which received critical acclaim and several award nominations.