Genre: Historical Fiction
Published on: March 20th 2018 by Little A
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
**I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
Great cover, great synopsis, awesome title. So why not read it?
The day nine-year-old San San and her twelve-year-old brother, Ah Liam, discover their grandmother taking a hammer to a framed portrait of Chairman Mao is the day that forever changes their lives. To prove his loyalty to the Party, Ah Liam reports his grandmother to the authorities. But his belief in doing the right thing sets in motion a terrible chain of events.
Now they must flee their home on Drum Wave Islet, which sits just a few hundred meters across the channel from mainland China. But when their mother goes to procure visas for safe passage to Hong Kong, the government will only issue them on the condition that she leave behind one of her children as proof of the family’s intention to return.
Against the backdrop of early Maoist China, this captivating and emotional tale follows a brother, a sister, a father, and a mother as they grapple with their agonizing decision, its far-reaching consequences, and their hope for redemption.
Provided only three permits/visas available given to a family of four, which family members would you bring with you to a place far from the rule of communism? Your choices are:
A. Your mother-in-law (grandmother of your children)
B. Your first child (son)
C. Your second child (daughter)
In the case of Soo Keon, mother and daughter-in-law, she chose Bee Kim and Ah Liam, believing that within a few days time, little San San would rejoin them on the other side. Unfortunately, the circumstances wouldn’t have it her way.
Set in China, Bury What We Cannot Take, by Kirstin Chen, is a story of many things: the struggles of a family, the burden of secrets, oppression, loss of innocence, survival, forgiveness and letting go of anger. Being written in multiple third person perspectives, this story shows you an array of dilemma that each person in the family encounter. It is a slow-paced story that puts into focus the emotions of the characters.
What I liked most about the book is the role of San San and her perseverance. At the age of 9, she is faced with so much challenge that she is left to trust only herself. With her relentless will to be with her family, to be in her mother’s arms once again, she made use of her wit to fight through, to live, to survive. Not even hunger can stop her. Her transformation in the story is flawless and that is what I admired the most about her. From riches to rags, this girl just slayed the dragons of life!
I’m always looking for books that makes me understand varying situations happening in the society and this book went ahead and achieved my expectations of it. I felt like I experienced the different perspectives of the characters and that was a HUGE thumbs up for me.
While I enjoyed most of the book, the one and only downside for me was the ending. I found it to be slightly off. I was like: whaaaaat? I read it, understood it, but at the same time, I don’t. Do you get me? No? Okay.
This book is admirable and if you’re one for historical stories set in Asia with a bit of a heartbreaking story, then here’s a fitting book for you!
For more reviews, find me at Page Hoarder.