BOOK CLUB: Lioness

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If you saw the movie “Lion” or read Saroo Brierley’s book “A Long Way Home”, then you will already know who Sue Brierley is. Sue is the mother of Saroo and “Lioness” is her story. 

Sue shares with us her tortured childhood and how she felt unloved and lived in constant fear of what would next spark her Father’s temper off, and who his anger would be directed at.  She struggled with her mother’s constant sadness.

The one spark of hope was her belief that in her future she would have a family and she would show her children as much love as she was able.  She would work hard to make sure her children felt loved and secure and that they had as many wonderful opportunities in life as she could possibly give them.   At the age of 16, she met her future husband and they both agreed that they longed to adopt a child that needed a loving home. 

Once they were married they started on their quest to find that child but hit stumbling block after stumbling block.  It took many long years before Sue discovered that the laws on adoption had changed, and they could now apply to adopt with more hope than was possible in years gone by. 

Sue shares with us all of the ups and downs and then the pure joy of finally becoming parents and adopting Saroo. She goes on to explain about going through many battles to adopt her second son Mantosh to become a family of four.

Sue has a wonderful heart and this shines through in her love for her boys and their birth families.  She shows how strong she was as a human being to battle through her childhood and remains a loving and kind-hearted person, who became a very wonderful and loving mother. 
Years later when Saroo manages to find his birth mother with the help of Google Earth and his early childhood memories.

He then went on to write his story which then became the movie “Lion”.  Sue found that one of her favourite actresses was to play her in the movie.  She shares with us her first meeting with Nicole Kidman and how well they connected.

I loved reading Sue’s story and have promised my daughter that I will hold on to the book for her to read when she visits me for Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, this would be an awesome book to gift this year.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Lioness by Sue Brierley. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 978-0-14379-603-9 / Publisher: Penguin Australia

10 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Lioness

  1. Sue Brierley’s Lioness – wow what a story! Sue reveals her journey of how she became an adoptive mother to Saroo from the true story (and the 2017 movie) Lion.

    Growing up Sue and her family endured a vast amount of tragedy, living in poverty, and in an abusive environment. Her childhood was about survival. This shaped her views on parenthood. However, rising above her past Sue was able to fulfill her dream. Sue’s journey to motherhood is one of great admiration and dedication.

    This book piqued my interest as adoption is something that I have experienced, finding out as a teen that I had an older brother who was adopted and reunited with my (his) biological family 30 years later. Sue in her book mentions Julia Gillard’s apology to the biological mothers and adoption process (my mother had been affected by this). Although I have my own children now, I have often thought that I might one day adopt or foster a child.

    Lioness has been a real eye opener, i am astonished to find out about the number of children who are abandon in India every year. Overall a captivating read and i happy to recommend.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Penguin Publishers for the reading and reviewing opportunity.

  2. I loved this book
    What an inspirational story and life! Adoption can be so difficult for so many different reasons and for so many people.
    It’s inspiring to know that with love we can get though anything, and through hard times we can become better people and that everyone can make a positive difference in this sometimes cruel world.
    I’m so grateful for the opportunity to read and review this book. Lioness a fantastic book I recommend it to everyone.

  3. Lioness is the amazing personal story of Sue Brierley who came from a dysfunctional family with a violent alcoholic father who gambled and made them destitute.

    Sue married quite young and finally free from her destructive father she and her husband John made a decision to adopt children in need from India instead of having their own, inspired by a vision she had as a girl.

    After many years of dealing with the governmental process this situation brings ( which I must say was an eye opener to me. ) they firstly adopted Saroo and later Mantosh.

    It’s a raw touching and at times confronting story of her love for both their sons and the many difficulties that was experienced along the way.

    It is a story that really touched my heart strings. It will make you cry! It will make you smile!

    I am sure it will bring out your deepest emotions and become a story you will never forget.

    This is such a unique novel. You will not be disappointed.

    Thanks to BeautyandLace and Penquin books for the opportunity to read this astonishing book.

  4. Before reading this book, I had little to no knowledge about sue brierley which made this all the better. The details about her life was extremely interesting, and a pleasure to read and learn about. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an insight on her life or just an uplifting and inspiring story.

  5. After watching the movie Lion a few years ago I had to read Sue’s story. I am so thankful for the opportunity to read and review Lioness.

    Wow what an inspiring lady. So many demons and obstacles to overcome in her early life. I am truly happy that her life turned out much better than her childhood. I found this book incredible and although hard to read in some parts I could not put this down. Parts of this book gave me goosebumps specifically the chapter titled “Mother’s Love” and some tears were shed during this read.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace for organizing this great book.

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review Lioness.

    What a confronting story to read. Sue is truly inspiring and I enjoyed reading of her journey to motherhood and the meeting of Saroo. I did find it difficult to read about her childhood and I am so happy she found the love she deserves.

    1. This books tells the story of Sue Brierley and how she came to adopt Saroo and Mantosh. We are familiar with this story through the book A Long way home which was then made into the film Lion but this books delves deeper into Sue’s own life and the hardships the family has faced.

      How Sue came to adopt two children given the struggles of her childhood is an inspiring story and also quite confronting. She articulates the love of a mother for her children so strongly and explores her relationship not just with Saroo but also Mantosh. Sue is honest about the difficulties they have experienced as a family, and she also explores their dealings with the arduous adoption process, something many of us will never experience.

      I was moved by this story and I love how Sue explores how families and mothers are made in different ways but love binds us.

      Thank you Beauty and Lace for organising this book review.

  7. Lioness by Sue Brierley

    Thank you @beautyandlacemag and @penguinbooksaus publishing for supplying this month’s book, Lioness, by Sue Brierley

    I’m not sure what the universe is trying to tell me as I commenced reading this book – I had just finished “Before I was yours” about an adoption, and now a book about international adoption, with similar content focus.

    As you all know by now, I choose my books based purely on the title and the cover. This method has worked for me all my life, and only let me down twice. So I chose to read Lioness because I love felines. I had no idea it was the true story behind the acclaimed movie, Lion.

    The main character mother, Sue, experienced significant hardship growing up in rural Tasmania. It is inspirational how she turned her adversity into a wonderful life for her sons. The early chapters recounting her childhood events and surviving circumstances that were oppressive and abusive, were sad but said with raw honesty.

    The daily descriptions of anticipation and actions etc was a bit lengthy and repetitive without adding much value to the story or emotion of the adoption process. I didn’t like the blatant disrespect she showed her new son when she tricked him into eating cow by calling it “beef” knowing full well that his culture worships cows and therefore eating them is sinful and taboo. Very disappointing.

    I persevered and continued to read until page 212 at which time, even though I was so close to the end, I couldn’t read it anymore.

    I hope my next choice is better. Hahaha.

  8. I was so excited to be able to write and review ‘Lioness’. I absolutely loved ‘Lion’ and being able to better understand Sue Brierley’s journey to motherhood, from being a little girl with the vision of a child with brown skin and a glowing face, to what she endured from her own abusive father and her determination to adopt a child that needed love and care rather than having her own biological child. The story flows beautifully and Sue even draws on journal entries she had documented to help Saroo on his journey to find his family back in India. Brilliant! Absolutely loved it. Do yourself a favour and immerse yourself in this truly heartwarming true story.

  9. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘Lioness’ a true story about Sue Brierley the mother of Saroo from the movie ‘Lion’.
    This was a great book which I thoroughly enjoyed, although at times it was hard to hear about the family Sue was brought up in and the conditions, she had to survive all due to the carelessness of a damaged father and a downtrodden mother. A spark of hope inspires Sue, for a future that is different but filled with happiness.
    I am in awe of her ability to be able to push past her family history to provide a loving home for Saroo and then later Mantosh. The complexities that Sue and her husband had to go through in the adoption process was agonizing – it was so plain to see that they would be wonderful parents, clearly taking the time to ensure that could provide a great home for any child.
    Sue shows that there does not need to be a biological link for you to be a great mother, it takes love, kindness, empathy and a lot of hard work. However, Sue also acknowledges the first family as also being important, documenting all of Saroo’s known history and then celebrating with him when he found his biological family. To see a child, you have raised turn into a wonderful man ‘The Lion’ and for there also to be hope for Mantosh is the greatest achievement for Sue.
    This was a great book showing what true love and motherhood is all about. Thank-you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ for the opportunity to read ‘Lioness’ by Sue Brierley.

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