Homer's Travels: Book: Lea Ypi's "Free: A Child And A Country At The End Of History

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Book: Lea Ypi's "Free: A Child And A Country At The End Of History

What a good book.  The eleventh book I read this year is the biography of a young girl growing up in Albania before and after the fall of the iron curtain.   Lea Ypi's "Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History" follows Ypi's life in communist Albania, after the fall of socialism, through a civil war, and out the other end.

I didn't know much about Albania.  I didn't realize that it had left the Warsaw Pact after the Soviet invasion of Hungry.  I never realized how backwards and isolated it was.  The fact that the author had never seen or heard of plastic until she was a teenager in the early 1990s says a lot.  Learning how empty Coca Cola cans were displayed on mantles as a status symbol (even if the owner bought the can already empty) was just another example of the isolation of this eastern european country.

The family dynamics takes center stage.  The adults are secretly anti-socialist while the youth are being indoctrinated in school to be hard core, cult of personality, socialists.  As history changes the author learns her parents were lying to her and her whole system of belief transforms.

This book was very engaging and I gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads.  I think I would have given it 4.5 stars if it let me.  A surprising story that I did not expect and which taught me a little more of the hidden history all around us.

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