Monday, 14 August 2017

Child Of Tibet by Soname Yangchen

Child Of Tibet by Soname Yangchen with Vicki MacKenzie
Published in the UK by Piatkus Books in 2006.

I registered my copy of this book at BookCrossing.
184 pages towards Olivia's fun August Reading Challenge to read an average of 50 pages each day throughout the month. Total = 1139.

How I got this book:
Bought from a Rowcroft charity shop in Torquay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book tells the remarkable story of Soname's triumph over adversity, told against the backdrop of a turbulent and dangerous Tibet. Soname was born in the harsh Tibetan countryside during the Chinese occupation. When she was just sixteen Soname risked death in a freedom trek across the Himalayas, finally arriving in Dharamsala, home in exile of the Dalai Lama. Even after managing to escape from Tibet, she faced further dangers and heartache in India, being forced by destitution to give her daughter away. Soname later managed to reach England, where she met and married an Englishman and came to live in Brighton. Her hidden talent was discovered when she sang a traditional Tibetan song at a wedding reception, unaware that a member of a famous band was a guest. Concerts followed. Tracing her long-lost daughter has long been Soname's preoccupation, and it is hoped that her daughter will finally join her in England later this year. Hers is a story of immense will, unbelievable courage and, above all, an indomitable soaring free spirit.

Child Of Tibet is an inspiring autobiography, an uplifting tale of one woman's unceasing attempts to make a better life for herself in the face of extreme circumstances. Prior to reading this book I was aware of the Tibetan struggle to shake off Chinese rule, but I had no idea of the realities of living under their ideology or how completely opposed many of their rules are to traditional Tibetan Buddhist beliefs. For Soname, escaping the repressive regime regime was vital because she probably would never have been anything other than a house slave in her native land.

Despite her isolation and poor treatment in Tibet, Soname's love for her country shines through every page. Her descriptions of her childhood farming community, the beauty and majesty of the mountainous landscape, and the everyday difficulties of living in such terrain and at such altitude - water can take two hours to boil! - opened my eyes to a previously hidden culture. I was saddened to learn how much has been destroyed during. the Chinese occupation.

Once Soname's escape begins I was in awe of her mental strength and the dedication of those people travelling with her. I am sure in the same situation I would have given up (and died), but Soname's faith and ability to be open to opportunity gives her the strength to persevere. I was amazed at the variety of people she encounters, a woman with basically nothing hob-nobbing with the super-rich, and I would have liked to learn more about aspects such as the exiled Tibetan community in India. Child Of Tibet is not a long enough book to encompass Soname's incredible life so it did at times feel superficial. Soname is an amazing woman and I am glad to have discovered her story and her music through reading Child Of Tibet.

Etsy Find!
by Gem And Fossil Emporium in
Hertford, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Soname Yangchen / Biography and memoir / Books from Tibet

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