Drama

Is He My Son: A trafficked Chinese child, discovered and lost again by Lin Chang Translated by Bruce Humes

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I almost did not finish this book. I am glad I did, though, because the ending made the read worth the effort. Not all translated books work for me, this one was definitely impaired by the narrative style, and I cannot really say if it was the cause of the original writer or not.
This is also a very personal reaction. There may be many out there who can enjoy the story despite the way it is being told, but I am not one of them. That said, by the time the ending rolled around, it felt like a realistic way for the entire tale to be wrapped up. The characters felt three-dimensional at that stage.
It is a scary story and given that it is based on actual incidents, scarier still. In Canada, due to one freak accident, it comes to light that the child they have cared for nearly two decades is not their own. The family now has to come to terms with what that means for everyone involved. At this stage, we are taken into a flashback to show the sequence of events that led up to this point. Now, here is where I had the next issue. The book did a great job picturing China as it was then and the different types of people who lived in cities and villages. But the events were too strange for the mother of the child in question to be satisfied with what she was given in the form of information and otherwise. No substantial backing is given to us to see why someone could sit on that information for twenty years and how it would not be the first thing that strikes the couple when faced with damning paternal and maternal results. That put me off for quite some time.
The last part of the book, with all the various people, was an interesting read. The concept of how people automatically assume ‘foreigners’ are better off than locals is probably still prevalent today, and it played out in a pretty outrageous but fascinating way. I am not sure if I would recommend this particular work for anyone looking for a book on this topic.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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