THE iREAD REVIEW
In a heartrending tale of hardship and small triumphs, a spirited Greek boy living on an island in eastern Aegean searches for love, belonging, and his destiny.
In hopes of securing a better life, Yanni's mother has left him with his caring grandparents until she returns from a job she has taken overseas. Months turn into years as the stumbling blocks of illness, relative relations, and tribulations at school feed his yearning to see her again. With World War II and the German occupation, life on the island turns into a silent battle for survival against constant terror and starvation, but Yanni endures. When he finds himself leaving his homeland to be reunited with his mother, he hopes to finally find the life he's always dreamed of.
Christopher Stratakis creates a beautifully written coming-of-age story placed during a turbulent, historical time in the rich and lively country of Greece. The book is broken down into four main sections, each beginning with an older Yanni sharing a few gentle thoughts as he reflects back on pivotal moments of his life. Like an artistically placed collage, events from his past are picked out and strung together to form a seamless composition of heartfelt struggles, desires, dreams, and disappointments.
Although many of his experiences are based in a harsh reality evoking raw emotions, others expose the gentler sides of life that mold a young boy's personality and expectations. Each scene is depicted with vivid descriptions, revealing Yanni’s vibrant yet provincial island life while remembering to paint the world through his point of view. The reader is immersed into the emotions which shape and drive Yanni through his life and bring him to the realization that destiny isn't something achieved in a single moment but rather through an entire lifetime.