- Publisher: Macmillan Australia
- Published: 26 October 2021
- Paperback: 333 pages
My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 1/2
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard’s library. He knows not to ask too many questions, stand out too much, stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve ‘American culture’ in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic – including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him through the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.
Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can turn a blind eye to the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power – and limitations – of art to create change in the world, the lessons and legacies we pass onto our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.
This novel needs to be a textbook and every American needs to read it. It was hauntingly real, frighteningly close to reality with the laws being passed in the U.S. today. Women’s rights, gay right, book banning… it’s just the beginning and this book shows what it could become.
This novel reminded me of “The Handmaids Tale”, but upon closer look, it’s something that is probably more realistic of becoming reality than Handmaids will.
The reason I gave it 3 ½ stars is because it took me a bit to get into the story, since it starts out with Bird’s perspective (the son) which seemed rudimentary. Plus, it wasn’t the ending I expected (I can’t say it any other way without it away.) But otherwise, this is a novel that will stay with me for a long time and have me signing petitions and attending as many protests that I can, for the rest of my life.
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