Oh, good grief, prepare yourself for this one…
In 1942, Japanese soldiers ransack villages in Singapore, killing men, and kidnapping women and young girls so they can become sexual slaves. Wang Di is taken from her family when she’s only sixteen years old and, for the next three years, is forced to have sex with 40+ soldiers a day. Eventually she makes it out—but, of course, she can never forget.
Years later, a twelve-year old boy named Kevin is trying to figure out what happened to his grandmother. She confesses something on her deathbed, and now Kevin can’t rest until he knows the truth. Eventually, his story will connect with Wang Di’s, and the two will have to find healing in each other.
I just can’t. I know that this stuff happens, and I know we can’t turn away. In fact, I’m pretty sure the author based this book off of real-life events her family members experienced. But it’s awful. Too awful. When I was reading the passages about young Wang Di being raped over and over and over again, day after day after day, all I could think about was my daughter and all the other young girls I know. It’s horrific and overwhelming.
The story is well told, and it moves along quickly. And if you are a fan of historical fiction, you will probably enjoy it. But you really have to mentally prepare yourself for something like this, because this is heavy, heavy stuff. How We Disappeared is a well-written book, but, no, I probably wouldn’t recommend it.
Thank you to Amazon Vine and Oneworld Publications for the ARC.