When you have to bury your typewriter in your garden to hide it from the secret police then life is grim. But as Carmen Bugan's father continues to take a stand against the Ceausescu regime in Romania (by producing anti-Communist leaflets), life becomes even grimmer. It is imprisonment for him and ostracism and intimidation for the rest of the family until they eventually arrive as refugees in USA.
In this eloquent and poignant memoir the author recounts the life of a family suffering under a totalitarian system from the unique perspective of a young citizen.
Comments from Groups
Much group discussion about the conflict of responsibility of parents towards children and upholding/acting on potentially risky values, and the difficulties around making choices. Auckland 100 Fantastic, beautiful writing. Drew you into the story of her life from the beginning. Christchurch 088 Successful group discussion. Book slow to get started but becomes more interesting. Was thought provoking! Dunedin 089 Beautifully written book that explores family life, and the effect the communist regime had on them and society. Morriinsville 001 Very insightful read of what could otherwise be a heavy subject. Christchurch 125
We gave this book a solid 4. Well-written, and we learnt heaps. Good discussion of parallels with Nazi Germany, and the Ukraine/Russia conflict - how we would react in those situations, whether we'd be brave enough to dissent, or play the party line to protect our family.
Voted favourite BDS book of the year by three of our members. Others thought it not well-written. But all enjoyed the descriptions of growing up in Romania and the effects on family of having a dissident father.
We all read and loved this book - for the writing, the food...and the horror of being spied on all the time! One member said the childhood stories her mother told her of the Netherlands (her mother was a reluctant immigrant from a small village), had opened her eyes to her mother's past. Members enjoyed it and encouraged others to go online and hear Carmen speak.
We enjoyed the book. Recommend re-reading Chapter 1 after completing the book, as it seems to tie everything together.
We thought this was an excellent, easy read that was thought-provoking and generated much discussion.
Excellently written. Great notes.
It's not very often we get a book which everyone has enjoyed reading. Beautifully, evocatively written. A first hand insight into life under an oppressive regime.
Found it very interesting and informative though not pleasant to read.
Mixed reactions to the book. Some members would read the book again, others would not recommend. Felt it was important to hear Bugan's story as history often repeats itself! Lots of discussion around obligations to family versus obligations to the wider community.
A very moving, graphic and beautiful story. Everyone had good comments to make.