From the #1 bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, comes one of the most highly anticipated books of the year – the inspiring new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or 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 pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to 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 City, 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 ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(3 / 5) In the new America, only specific “American values” are tolerated and everything is taken or forbidden that doesn’t apply. This especially goes against Asian Americans. Bird’s mother left years ago when America became unstable. He knows not to talk about his mom or ask questions. But something has peaked his interest and he starts researching.
This is a book about how one person can make a difference, good or bad. One person can affect many others and impact their life enough to make them choose differently, believe differently or act differently.
The story has what I will call the “Nazi mentality.” The few were governing the many and ruling in ways that harmed countless others. Children were taken away as a common punishment, never to be seen again.
Those that “fought” against the leaders were so admirable. As in Nazi Germany, they never knew what the punishment would be and still they took the chance. Beautiful.
Ultimately, this book was interesting but it wasn’t for me. It was slow-moving and I never felt a connection with the characters. I did love the idea behind it but it wasn’t presented in a way I could relate. Being a Reese’s Book Club pick, I thought I would enjoy it more.
AUDIO REVIEW: Normally audios are better to catch my attention. I felt like this one was just not quite cutting it. I would have liked more emotion in the narrator. It really was an incredibly story but I didn’t feel any emotions throughout, even in the intense moments. I’m not sure if that relates to the writing or the narrator or both but it felt lacking to me.
General content summary: F words= 11, C words= 1, authorities take children of dissidents, (multiple, foster care, prejudice), childhood bullying, prejudice (multiple), derogatory names for Asian people, physical violence (because of prejudice), many previous deaths and killings (few details, many violent, many hate crimes), many hate crime acts, death (shot, few details), previous plane crash death, woman forced to pleasure a man (few details).
Thank you to PRH Audio for the complimentary copy!
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