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This review appears on Happy Indulgence Check it out forreviews.Having parents who have immigrated from Asia in search of a better life Freedom Swimmer is a story that holds true to my heart It s an eye opening and humbling story about two brave boys with nothing but the courage in their heart and bravery in their souls and I m still reeling from feels after reading it.It s so easy to forget the luxuries that are afforded to us everyday while living in a first world country Food, sh This review appears on Happy Indulgence Check it out forreviews.Having parents who have immigrated from Asia in search of a better life Freedom Swimmer is a story that holds true to my heart It s an eye opening and humbling story about two brave boys with nothing but the courage in their heart and bravery in their souls and I m still reeling from feels after reading it.It s so easy to forget the luxuries that are afforded to us everyday while living in a first world country Food, showers, education, freedom of speech these are things that we should be thankful for everyday Living in Communist China and being a part of Mao s Red Guards, Li and Meng live a simple village life, where these luxuries aren t easily accessible Chairman Mao s authorities control what they can do, how they can behave and what they can think at least openly, anyway It was disturbing seeing how easily the authorities could turn friends into enemies, or how they could so freely punish insubordination Having that much power is never a great thing and this novel captures the impacts of his dictatorship on individual families.Freedom Swimmer isn t all doom and gloom however, it s an honest, heart warming account of two friends Meng, a village orphan whose father attempted to freedom swim to Hong Kong, and Li, a city boy who is a part of the Red Guards Like any good male friendship, they make quick friends after rough housing and they soon become inseparable As they divulge secrets to one another, re educate the villagers with propaganda, and Meng teaches Li to swim, they develop a deep, honest friendship that felt really natural We definitely needbooks about friendship and I loved seeing how the two boys supported and encouraged each other in all their endeavours.Meng was immediately relatable, as someone from humble beginnings who is willing to earn his keep He is brave, smart enough to keep his head down but also pick up on social cues and keep his dreams of escaping to himself It was absolutely adorable seeing him pine for his childhood sweetheart Fei, while navigating the village customs and Chinese traditions I just wanted to reach out and mush them together Ambitious, dedicated and patriotic, Li is someone who is ingrained in his role as the Red Guards, until he gets cast out due to his family s circumstances Li goes through an internal struggle of questioning his beliefs and actions when it comes to upholding Mao s values I liked the easy way he could charm and relate to people and how he presented the softer side of the duo.If there was anything I had to pick out, is that the last few chapters of the book seemed to be quite rushed over the course of a few years I wanted to hearabout everyday life.Written by an ownvoices author, Freedom Swimmer really encapsulated the life of Communist China with a strong thread of hope, bravery and friendship If you ve been asking fordiversity, this book is perfect, with an authentic Chinese setting, charming characters and a tide of feels to boot I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Freedom Swimmeris Wai Chim s first novel for young adults and is based true events and her father s life in China The prologue is set in the winter of 1962, a year after China s Great Leap Forward Eleven year old Ming Hong lives in Dingzai, a small fishing village on the Dapeng Peninsula, in the district of Longgang, Guangdong province His father, who has been missing for years, loved to swim and instilled this love in Ming as well, but he disappeared one night Now Ming s mother has dieFreedom Swimmeris Wai Chim s first novel for young adults and is based true events and her father s life in China The prologue is set in the winter of 1962, a year after China s Great Leap Forward Eleven year old Ming Hong lives in Dingzai, a small fishing village on the Dapeng Peninsula, in the district of Longgang, Guangdong province His father, who has been missing for years, loved to swim and instilled this love in Ming as well, but he disappeared one night Now Ming s mother has died of starvation He takes her body to the river and returns to an empty house It s at this time that Ming meets Fei, a girl from Long chi, a neighbouring village, but they are soon separated and Ming doesn t have the courage to seek her out.The story picks up again in 1968 Ming now shares a room with three other boys, all without families They live in poverty, with no electricity or running water They work each day in the fields, overseen by the Cadre, who is employed by the Communist Party, under instruction from Chairman Mao Zedong Working earns them points which are used for rations and as a way to keep them in check It s a time of great suspicion, the smallest change in behaviour or one wrong word can earn you the label of reactionary or counter revolutionary, and can lead to imprisonment or death.Soon a group of youths from the city, former Red Guards, arrive They are there to learn how to work in the fields and to be reeducated, as well as to help spread the word of Mao Li is on of these boys and he soon befriends Ming.From memory, we didn t learn a lot of Chinese history in high school We covered World War I, II, and Vietnam, but I do recall learning a little of Mao, perhaps from conversations at home, and possibly from my own reading It s a time that lead to a lot of deaths, with estimates as high as 35 million people That s so sad and shocking and I m sure this must be a time that still has repercussions for many families today.The friendship that blooms between Ming and Li was heartwarming and really highlighted how tense and fear based most relationships must have been at the time Ming isn t even sure he can trust his closest friend Tian because you never know who will turn on you Ming still loves to swim and manages to get away to indulge every now and then When he discovers that Li cannot swim, he sets about teaching him, something that cements their bond Ming later reveals to Li that his father talked of escaping China by swimming to Hong Kong, a treacherous journey.Right from the start my heart broke for Ming, he s orphaned at a young age and there s no one in the village to care for him because they are all suffering too The atmosphere was palpable throughout the story, I could sense his fear and loneliness I felt so worried for Ming, Li, Fei and Tian, sure they were being watched, that at any moment they could be accused of traitorous acts and taken away or killedFreedom Swimmeris a beautifully told story of a time in history that is painful and horrifying It s obviously a story close to the author s heart and she writes about it with such honesty and feeling It highlights how far humans will go to survive, and the bonds they forge with friends and family It would make an excellent school text, and is perfect for both teens and adults.Thank you to Allen Unwin for my review copy A few weeks ago I read a review for Freedom Swimmer on Happy Indulgence and was touched by Jeann s review She spoke about how her family had migrated to Australia in which most families search for freedom and an environment to raise children, allowing them to prosper It s a narrative echoed by so many Australian families, our neighbours, our friends and family members Ming s story is passionate and breathtaking but most of all, it instills hope and a sense of understanding, learning not to ta A few weeks ago I read a review for Freedom Swimmer on Happy Indulgence and was touched by Jeann s review She spoke about how her family had migrated to Australia in which most families search for freedom and an environment to raise children, allowing them to prosper It s a narrative echoed by so many Australian families, our neighbours, our friends and family members Ming s story is passionate and breathtaking but most of all, it instills hope and a sense of understanding, learning not to take our freedom for granted.Orphaned at the tender age of only eleven years old, Ming is a mere boy in a village where children sow the fields in communist China, not afforded an education unlike wealthy families living within the city, Ming is an outcast since his father attempted the treacherous swim to Hong Kong.Titled Freedom Swimming by the media, an overwhelming number of young men and women made the journey to freedom, escaping Maoist guards with dozens of barely adult bodies washing up on the Hong Kong shoreline Famine swept throughout China and for many citizens, escape was their only means of survival Wai Chim was inspired by her own father s story, he too was a Freedom Swimmer in the early seventies and now lives a peaceful life in New York An inspiration.Freedom Swimmer is told in duel narratives from both Ming and Li, both young men are wonderfully written and will appeal to the wider audience with the characters conversing in modern English Readers experience China s Cultural Revolution through the eyes of two young men, wanting justice for the treatment of so many and hopeful for their freedom Freedom Swimming was an incredibly treacherous era, with many media reports believing it was a significant precursor to cultural change.Australia is a multicultural country not without fault Asylum seekers from war ravaged countries are modern day Freedom Swimmers, seeking refuge and safe passage for their families only to be placed in detention Unless you identify as an Indigenous Australian who remain our traditional land owners, we are all migrants seeking the same freedom and prosperity and Freedom Swimmer further highlights their plight.Inspirational, poignant and quietly beautiful, Freedom Swimmer is a journey of bravery and the strength we draw from solidarity and compassion 3.5 stars Honestly, I think this would have had muchof an impact on me if I hadn t read The Four Books earlier this year, which deals with The Great Leap Forward in extensive detail So going from that to a young adult version that deals with the deal and the famine in asomewhat sanitised fashion Eeeeeeeeh That said, it s probably just the right level of brutal for a young adult audience And it s definitely a powerful story about two teenage boys struggling for survival in 1960s Chi 3.5 stars Honestly, I think this would have had muchof an impact on me if I hadn t read The Four Books earlier this year, which deals with The Great Leap Forward in extensive detail So going from that to a young adult version that deals with the deal and the famine in asomewhat sanitised fashion Eeeeeeeeh That said, it s probably just the right level of brutal for a young adult audience And it s definitely a powerful story about two teenage boys struggling for survival in 1960s China And I had no idea that SWIMMING THROUGH SHARK INFESTED WATERS was seen as a good way out of 1960s China So it s a powerful story But it could have been MORE powerful And the characters feltyounger than they were supposed to be a lot of the time Still, I m glad I read it Originally posted here.Inspired by the true story of the author s father, who swam from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom, I really enjoyed Freedom Swimmer And yay for historical fiction, Australian YA and ownvoices My thoughts The premise and historical settingI ve said multiple times that historical fiction is my favourite genre at least right now because of how it s both an imaginative and relatable reading experience Reading Freedom Swimmer definitely gave me this, but it Originally posted here.Inspired by the true story of the author s father, who swam from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom, I really enjoyed Freedom Swimmer And yay for historical fiction, Australian YA and ownvoices My thoughts The premise and historical settingI ve said multiple times that historical fiction is my favourite genre at least right now because of how it s both an imaginative and relatable reading experience Reading Freedom Swimmer definitely gave me this, but it particularly stood out because of the premise how it was inspired by the incredible courage of real people who swam to Hong Kong, and of the genuine hardships they faced in mainland China Up until now my knowledge of the Cultural Revolution has been a haphazard collection of memories of family discussions I couldn t fully grasp, a brief understanding of the economic aspect from high school, and Mao s Last Dancer In other words barely anything.So Freedom Swimmer was an incredibly insightful way of immersing myself into this world, through the eyes of the characters and their personal challenges Which brings me to The friendship and charactersWai Chim mentioned at the launch of the Freedom Swimmer that she didn t necessarily see it as a very political book, which intrigued me I understand thisclearly now, after finishing it I d describe it as a story of courage and friendship, first and foremost.Ming was empathetic from the first page with his resilience after losing his family to the famine, and the challenges of his life after this His uncertainty throughout the story was nuanced and believable The humour was also a nice touch I m not sure whether it was actually meant to be funny, but a line where he described himself as feeling like a forsaken hero with unrequited love made me laugh out loud.Li was intriguing in a different way how he grew throughout the story as he adjusted to his new life, becameaware, and questioned what he had believed The friendship between him, Ming, and other characters including Tian and Fei was heart warming to read We really needfriendship stories in YA The pacing and tensionWhat s interesting about the reading experience with this book is that you know right at the start from the cover, the title, and knowing that it was based on the author s father s true story what the climax would be I liked how this created a slow burning build up of tension throughout the story it somewhat reminded me of The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen another book I love For most of the book, we re not sure of how it s going to get to that climax, but there s always tension because we re aware that something is going to happen at every point It was a nice experience of connecting the dots.In summary this was a wonderful book, a refreshing story of friendship in a unique for Australian YA historical setting, and an enjoyable reading experience Give it a read Recommended for fans of Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier, Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang, Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee, A Night Divided by Jennifer A Nielsen m aybe there sto the end of the day than just darkness Maybe in the nightfall, we will find the true light A heart rending story set in real life dystopian history of China s cultural revolution A story of friendship, hope and freedom.I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Freedom Swimmer, I was attracted to this book initially because there isn t many literature written in English on the cultural revolution in China During the revolution period of 1962 1976 people living in China had to m aybe there sto the end of the day than just darkness Maybe in the nightfall, we will find the true light A heart rending story set in real life dystopian history of China s cultural revolution A story of friendship, hope and freedom.I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Freedom Swimmer, I was attracted to this book initially because there isn t many literature written in English on the cultural revolution in China During the revolution period of 1962 1976 people living in China had to use ration tickets in exchange for food, clothing and furniture This was a period where family members turned against each other, teachers and business owners publically whipped and shamed for being bourgeois, and young students recruited to join the communist Red Guard to spread the words of Mao Zedong Chairman Mao who brainwashed and manipulated a whole generation of men and women, putting them through unimaginable suffering and re education of their ideals robbing people of their freedom to choose and think for themselves.Freedom Swimmer is the first Young Adult YA novel I have come across that explores such a complex period in China s history through the eyes of two 17 year old boys Li and Ming Ming and Li questioned the suffering that they were made to witness and endure, coming to terms with the impact of the cultural revolution and famine on their family and friends For a better life, they ve decided to swim for freedom through shark infested waters to Hong Kong Ming and Li s story was written with so much heart and soul at times gut wrenchingly so There were some truly heartbreaking moments that you just have to read for yourself The themes of friendship, coming of age, love and hope contrast wonderfully against this real life dystopian backdrop which made the characters highly relatable despite the story setting in a different time and culture Freedom Swimmer was also inspired by the author s father s experience and his real life freedom swim from China to Hong Kong This is truly a notable and unique read if you re after a book with depth and insight, or is interested in reading about a real dystopian period in history This book is highly relevant today given the issues concerning the plight of refugees asylum seekers, as Ming s father said to him in Freedom Swimmer it doesn t matter where they re from, all desperate men are the same I highly recommend this book |Free Pdf ♶ Freedom Swimmer ♸ Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China s Great Leap Forward , and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fieldsWhen a group of city boys comes to the village as part of a Communist Party re education program, Ming and his friends aren t sure what to make of the new arrivals They re not used to hard labour and village life But despite his reservations, Ming befriends a charming city boy called Li The two couldn t be different, but slowly they form a bond over evening swims and shared dreamsBut as the bitterness of life under the Party begins to take its toll on both boys, they begin to imagine the impossible freedom 4.5 stars. A second read and that ending still gets to me.I don t particularly remember my thoughts from my first read and evidently, I was too lazy to type it up However, this time around, I was struck by just how very dystopian this book sounds, the sweetly subtle romance, the powerful bond of friendship, of brotherhood Freedom Swimmer is imbued with heartache and it was quite uncomfortable to read even if I didn t know the ending , you just know that something was wrong and something worse may com A second read and that ending still gets to me.I don t particularly remember my thoughts from my first read and evidently, I was too lazy to type it up However, this time around, I was struck by just how very dystopian this book sounds, the sweetly subtle romance, the powerful bond of friendship, of brotherhood Freedom Swimmer is imbued with heartache and it was quite uncomfortable to read even if I didn t know the ending , you just know that something was wrong and something worse may come yet The strength courage of these boys were something to be admired Freedom Swimmer is a story of friendship, of brotherhood, of finding hope and life where you expect none It s a tale filled with weary suffering yet of unflagging strength and courage It s a story that need to be told read and retold and reread I am looking forward to another reread in the future A heart rending story set in real life dystopian history of China s cultural revolution A story of friendship, hope, and freedom I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Freedom Swimmer, I was attracted to this book initially because there weren t many books written in English on the cultural revolution in China During the revolution period of 1962 1976 people living in China had to use ration tickets in exchange for food, clothing and furniture This was a period where family members turned agains A heart rending story set in real life dystopian history of China s cultural revolution A story of friendship, hope, and freedom I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Freedom Swimmer, I was attracted to this book initially because there weren t many books written in English on the cultural revolution in China During the revolution period of 1962 1976 people living in China had to use ration tickets in exchange for food, clothing and furniture This was a period where family members turned against each other, teachers and business owners publically whipped and shamed for being exploitative , and young students recruited to the Red Guard to spread the words of Mao Zedong Chairman Mao Mao Zedong s words and ideology brainwashed and manipulated a generation of young men and women, putting them through unimaginable suffering, separating them from their families and re educating their ideals in short, robbing people of their freedom to choose and think for themselves NJ