Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Powerful, moving and engrossing
on 16 January 2014
I've been catching up on a lot of reading over Christmas and - once started - I couldn't put this one down. I didn't quite know what to expect from it. I knew that it was a loving testament to the author's little boy, Billy. And I knew that it was also about her own childhood and upbringing in Mongolia - very different in so many ways from her life in Scotland. All I can say is that I wasn't disappointed. This is a beautifully constructed book, written with a refreshing directness and honesty. But it's an emotional book too - why wouldn't it be? - and it manages to intrigue, amuse and sadden all at the same time. Quite often I was in tears over it, but suddenly, there would be some wry and intelligent observation about cultural differences, and I'd be smiling again. This was particularly apposite for me, since my own father came from Europe's far eastern border and - although Uuganaa's background is very different - it still occurred to me from time to time that my father must have experienced a similar cultural disorientation now and then. So the book was doubly illuminating. And absolutely fascinating too in reminding me of how little we really know about the daily lives of other people. We have so much information - but so little real knowledge.
But this is, of course, much more than an account of one woman's journey across different cultures. Because it is also the story of the author's child, Billy, born with Down's Syndrome - and therefore it is a story of prejudice as well as love, of resilience in the face of ignorance - but also a story of hope, of common humanity, of kindness and the possibility of change. At a time when there seems to be a growing prejudice both against those with disability, and those we are content to label 'foreigners' this book should be required reading. A counterbalance. A new, moving and in the last analysis, heartwarming perspective.