Monday, March 5, 2012

One Woman's Incredible Journey

Journey Across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman's Search for Home by Veronica Li

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. 

Summary: This is a true and touching story of one Chinese woman's search for home. It is also an inspiring book about human yearning for a better life. To escape poverty, Flora Li fought her way through the education system and became one of the few women to get into the prestigious Hong Kong University. When the Japanese invaded, she fled to unoccupied China, where she met her future husband, the son of China's finance minister (later deputy prime minister).
She thought she had found the ideal husband, but soon discovered that he suffered from emotional disorders caused by family conflicts and the wars he had grown up in. Whenever he had a breakdown, Flora would move the family to another city, from Shanghai to Nanking to Hong Kong to Bangkok to Taipei and finally across the four seas to the U.S. Throughout her migrations, Flora kept her sight on one goal: providing her children with the best possible education.
Review: An incredible story that shows one woman's incredible strength and determination.
I loved reading Flora's story. She was an incredible woman (I am not sure if she is still alive). She came from very little and managed to be educated, deal with a troublesome husband, and put her children through college. I enjoyed reading a memoir that wasn't from a US born American's point of view. Reading about Hong Kong, especially during the war, shows how people suffered and the gap between the rich and the poor. Their life was different from ours, but it was still the same in a number of ways. A lot of people, Flora included, had to struggle to survive.
I found myself cheering for Flora as she accomplished one victory after the other. She never gave up, even when she was dealt a bad hand. I can't believe how she managed to deal with her husband. She kept having to save him from making bad decisions so she would be able to provide for her children. Her experiences would have broken a lesser person, but Flora was able to shoulder on. I am glad that she was able to convince her husband to go to America. Her children have been successful and that is what Flora wanted all along. I certainly cannot pretend to know her mind, but I must assume that Flora was happy in the United States because she finally was able to provide the opportunities she wanted for her children.

Recommendation: I would recommend this to people who enjoy memoirs, especially those who enjoy womens' memoirs and/or memoirs told by non native American citizens. 

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