My mind was still young when I first opened this book. I knew so little about war-torn countries and the plight the civilians had to face. All I could imagine was black and white, life and death. Nothing so complicated. This book was the first material that had taught me about the hardships of refugees.
Perhaps my lack of exposure was due to the fact that I live in a developing country where asylum seekers were unlikely to settle for. The only immigrants that I had encountered were mostly Chinese, Koreans, and some Caucasians who were married to Filipinos. They weren't refugees from war, but rather, foreigners who came here to look for new opportunities. In fact, I myself was a descent from generations of Chinese immigrants and had been assimilated in the Filipino community.
Going back to the book, through its pages I was able to see the world of a refugee through the eyes of a young girl. She had been traumatized by the ravages of war and was forced to flee with her family. Her ordeal was even prolonged by being detained in a refugee camp in Australia where she was brought to by sea. She and her family had to be subjected to several interrogations for the government to confirm their refugee status. That would take months to years before they could actually be granted asylum and live a normal life.
The character was fictional, but her story was based on countless of true events that many refugees had to deal with. The author of the book was able to gather the stories through interviews with real people. This is what made the book special and a must read for everyone.
As I was browsing through the international sections of my News app, I could see several news about wars and violence, and the resulting mass departure of the civilians in affected places. I couldn't help but remember the little girl I'd read about years ago. I wish them all a good life in asylum.
Amazon Price: $40.98 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 17, 2014)
Genre: Young Adult