Read for CLPL "Real World Reads" non-fiction book club for July 2013. I read it early because July might be a very busy month.
I really enjoyed this book! It is a memoir by Carmen Bugan about her time growing up as a child in Romania during the Ceausescu regime. If you did not know that she wrote poetry, you could guess it once you start reading the book. She does not really write as an adult looking back with mature observations, but writes the memoir in a way that makes you feel the same emotions and sensations she did as a child. The thoughts and observations grow up as she does in the memoir. It takes place primarily in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in Romania, and ends with her immediate family's arrival in the U.S. (Michigan), with an afterward written in the early 2000s.
Although her father was a political activist, you do not find out too much about this until later, because she did not know about it until later, so you have a kind of sweet and naive veil over your eyes while reading the book, the same that she did as a child. It is written with such beautiful descriptions that it really makes you long for those simpler times, with pure enjoyment of flowers, making bread, canning vegetables and fruits, small village life, the kindness of grandparents, and so on. And as she becomes more and more repressed and goes through more and more hardships because of the government and her father's rebellious actions, you see the tragedies but do not feel depressed because of her lyrical writing.
I would definitely recommend this book! It is wonderfully written, a quick read (I read it in two sittings), and looks at what could be a depressing and horrible time with the simple and joyful eyes of a child, surrounded by her loving grandparents, and enjoying every moment of life.
And so it goes...