Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A Heart for Freedom: A Book Review

I received an advanced digital copy of this book for review. I am not receiving any compensation for this review.
My heart has been heavy, thinking of the wildfires in the Fort McMurray area and the resulting evacuations.  Reading a story based around the Tiananmen Square massacre may not have been the wisest or most uplifting choice at a time like this. But I'll still try to be fair in my review of this book.
I was born in Canada, and have lived here my entire life. I can badmouth Rachel Notley (our provincial premier), Justin Trudeau (our prime minister) or even the queen and not have to worry about persecution, imprisonment or even death. I can attend the church of my choice. I can choose my own college and career. I can have as many children as I want and send them to the schools that I want them to attend. If I "step out of line" with the government in power, I have no fear that I will lose my job and home and be sent to some remote, impoverished location to perform hard labour. So, no matter how hard I try, I really can't fathom living without all these freedoms. It's inconceivable to me. 
The Tiananmen Square massacre happened at a time when the youth of China awoke to the realization that they were being deprived of so many of the basic rights that a lot of us in the western world take for granted, freedoms that are as elemental to us as breathing. What they wanted was a peaceful dialogue with the government, but the reply was tanks and guns. Chai Ling was one of the leaders of the youth movement and this is her story. She gives her background from childhood, and how she became involved in the search for freedom. This book details her life through the massacre, her escape from China, and her new life in the United States. Through many ups and downs, she finally got to the point where she apparently was living the "good life:" a loving husband, 3 children, a promising business opportunity. But she still felt something was missing. And that's where I'm going to leave this review. You'll have to read the book to find out the rest. 
It was not a bad book, but maybe it's because my heart has been tied up with the Fort McMurray evacuees that I found it a little lame. What happened in Tiananmen Square was a terrible thing, but this book really didn't move me like I thought it would.