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3: Destination: Freedom: a memoir based on the true life story of a young girl Lily and her mom. (1) (Volume 3) Paperback – November 22, 2014
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Life under the new regime was intolerable. Added to that were personal tragedies of betrayal and abandonment. Lily’s Mom made the difficult decision to seek asylum in EUcity, not knowing how difficult life would be as a refugee, the dashed hopes and dreams for opportunity and freedom.
Author Amis used the term, “trapped in a gilded cage,” meaning caught in a country with freedom and beauty, yet unable to travel or enjoy the benefits of legal status, of being integrated into a free society. She and her Mom were socially isolated, struggled for acceptance yet experienced injustice and intolerance.
At the end of the book, at the grave of her beloved grandfather, Lily expressed her anguish at not being able to be with him when he was dying: “He was one in a million, an honest, loving, caring man, husband, father and grandfather with a big heart and soul.” She felt empty and wondered whether the suffering was worth the sacrifices.
By telling her story author Amis hoped to be a “voice for the voiceless of the world.” She opened my eyes to understanding the frustrations and heartbreak for an asylum seeker. And yet this was also a beautiful story of the loving bond between a mother and her child, of their courage and strength, and their amazing journey of triumph over heartbreak. With gifts of intelligence and talent Lily and her Mom more than survived, but that is the subject of the other two books in the trilogy.
I highly recommend this book, which is beautifully written with an honesty and passion to bring justice to other refugees like Ms. Amis.
Lily tells her story in a very personal, honest way, detailing what life for a refugee feels like as well as all of the challenges in trying to be accepted by your new country. Lily and her mother were very isolated and dealt with a lot of red-tape trying to get work permits or even legal status as a refugee. There was a constant fear of being sent back to their home country, while the country they were in wasn't treating them with respect or dignity. Lily and her mother appeared to loose the hope and optimism they initially felt about leaving their home country, and it was replaced by anger and frustration with the bureaucracy. Some fifteen years later, Lily and her mother returned to their home country and at the end of the book, she reflects on this experience. Lily states that "this book is based on true events which happened between 1976 and 2002. The characters in this book are based on real people. As a former-war-refugee, I see myself as the voice for the voiceless and helpless victims of greedy war. I’m also the voice for female sufferers worldwide, who have experienced and suffered from bullying, depression, emotional and sexual harassment."
Throughout the story, Lily uses ASIAcity to refer to her birthplace and EUcity for the city in which she eventually became a citizen. While I think this allows the reader to see the difficulties that refugees can experience, I personally would have liked to know more of the backstory on Lily's home country. Especially, when she was talking about the changes that the country underwent while she was in Germany as a child. She certainly reflects a passion for her people, and I thought it would've given me an even more personal feel if she would've named the cities. Although, without knowing the names, her story had more of a universal feel for the current climate regarding immigration. A wonderful memoir told with lots of passion and heart.
** I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book**