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Book Review -- One in a Billion
一比十亿 -- 读者书评
One in a Billion - Journey toward Freedom by Kai Chen
一比十亿 -- 通往自由的旅程 陈凯著
Book Review by Theresa Marie Moreau
读者书评 by Theresa Marie Moreau
Profound. Touching. Poetic.
Kai Chen's compelling autobiography "One in a Billion: Journey Toward Freedom," is a soul-searching confessional in which the author struggles emotionally, mentally, physically to understand and rationalize the horrible inhuman reality of the never ending noose of the Chinese Communist regime's rope that strangles the minds, hearts and souls of the people of China.
Read how Mr. Chen, as a young man, sensitive and intelligent, tries to flourish intellectually and spiritually during the treacherous years of China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1960s and 1970s. How does a young man make sense in a senseless world? In a Communist society that literally and figuratively murders the individual? Under a soulless dictatorship where life means nothing? Follow along as the author searches for answers to these questions.
Mr. Chen, a virtuoso in the art of basketball, began dribbling on the dirt courts of an industrial city in the far outreaches of northeastern China. Fueled by his passion for the sport, he worked endlessly on his talents, which landed him a spot on a professional ball team in the courts of most dangerous, treacherous city in China -- Beijing, the capital of the ruthless Red regime.
Read how Mr. Chen fights to be a man, a free man, not a nameless, soulless, mindless cog in the Chinese Communist machine. How he realizes that every living creature -- from the metaphorical unwanted babies tossed to die at the river's edge to the allegorical baby goldfish swimming to escape their maternal predators -- have a purpose in life, a divine and holy purpose.
A beautifully told story with the use of literary techniques that weave the brutal to the beautiful, the horrific to the heartwarming. It's a gut-wrenching examination of the self. An analysis of man's brutality. A reflection of an inner struggle. A narrative of a complex being caught in an unyielding machine. A revelation of a sadistic society in which man derives pleasure from another's pain.
This is a bold and brave telling of a brutal story -- from beginning to end.
Bio of the Reviewer
Theresa Marie Moreau is one of the very few reporters fortunate enough to be entrusted to tell the stories of the persecuted underground Roman Catholics of China. Her interviewing skills and respect for their vocations has gained Moreau the trust of those normally reticent to speak about their suffering, not from humility, but from fear – so instilled in them is the terror of Communist persecution.
Moreau has worked for the Los Angeles Times, where in a newsroom filled with grizzled veterans she earned the nickname “The Pitbull,” for her tenacity and agression when she grabbed hold of a story. She has also covered the Los Angeles Police Department for the Daily News of Los Angeles and worked as a beat reporter and city editor for Times Community News. She has also been a copy editor for Live! Magazine and a freelance writer for numerous publications during her career.
Having developed a “beat” of the Roman Catholic Church, Moreau has been published in Catholic periodicals, including: The New Oxford Review, The Remnant and Crisis Magazine, as well as China Infodoc Serivce, an online news service.
Her stories about the persecuted faithful in China have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and Romanian.
The Missionary Society of St. Columban handed over to Moreau in 2007 files of rough, nearly unintelligible notes and hired her to edit and research the project. The result: the 88,000-word memoir of the Rev. Fr. William Aedan McGrath, “Perseverance Through Faith: A Priest's Prison Story,” which may be purchased from Amazon.com.
An award-winning journalist, in 2000, Moreau won first place in the coveted Los Angeles Times Editorial Awards for Reporting. That same year she received the Investigative/Watchdog Award presented by the Orange County Press Club Journalism Awards. In previous years, she won many awards from the Greater Los Angeles Press Club Southern California Journalism Awards, including those in the categories for News Writing, Magazine Feature, Feature Reporting Body of Work, Series of News Stories, Spot News and Feature Reporting.
Book Review -- One in a Billion
一比十亿 -- 读者书评
Eye Opening Look at Life Under Communist Rule
June 18, 2010
By L.C. Evans
This review is from: One In A Billion: Journey Toward Freedom (Paperback)
What if you were born in China during the time of the "Cultural Revolution," yet you yearned for freedom and happiness that are not possible under communist rule? This was the dilemma of Kai Chen, author of One in a Billion: Journey Toward Freedom. Mr. Chen writes movingly of his early years and separation from his parents who had been removed from good jobs and relocated to a city in the far north of China. Their crime? Having connections with another political party and having family in Taiwan. Eventually Mr. Chen and his two brothers were reunited with their parents. In the new city they suffered incredible hardships--lack of sanitary facilities, a tiny apartment, extremely cold and harsh winters, and not enough food or heat. Eventually Mr. Chen was recruited to play basketball for China, thanks to his athletic skill and his 6' 7" height. But even as a top player, he chafed under the petty and arbitrary decisions of the communists and resented the life he and his family were forced to accept. He was often in trouble for expressing his views and refusing to knuckle under. He was made to confess his failings at political meetings, where he was called bourgeois and taken to task for being too much of an individual. His brother was denied to right to attend college because of his family connections. Even to move from one city to another or to request a change of jobs required months and endless struggles with countless bureaucrats. As Mr. Chen grew from a child to a man, his yearning for freedom solidified and became his burning need. He knew he could never achieve happiness if he wasn't free. Eventually he found the freedom he craved in the United States. He is now an American.
If you want a firsthand account of life under communist rule in the 50's up to the early 80's this is the book for you. Highly recommended, especially for those who take for granted the privilege of living in a free country.