First, here is my background. I am Romanian-born and immigrated to Canada in 1993. I worked as an IT guy and turned author after retirement.
I self-published my memoir book THESE LIVES on March 2nd, 2023. In one week, it reached #1 on Amazon New Releases in two categories: History/Biographies/Romania (now #2) and History/Biographies/Russia (Russian presence in Romania greatly influenced my family’s history).
I have three editorial reviews: 4 stars from Indie Reader and Reedsy Discovery and one excellent from Kirkus (they do not offer stars, but only one star in case of exceptional performance, and I do not have that star). I have three readers’ reviews (for some reason, they are distributed on “co.uk” and “.com” or “.ca” ). Well, all of them are 4 stars.
So, can I ask myself how all five reviews are 4 stars? Was anybody willing to give me 5, but something held him/her back? I took a deep breath and had to admit that in my head the book is 5 stars (as any author on this planet thinks about his book), but the occasional or professional reader sees it 4 stars, at least for now (that is very good, thou). Still, one of the readers mentioned the accent felt throughout the book that he did not particularly like, but he liked the book, saying at the end that “the content of the stories will linger with the reader longer than a few jarring notes in the text.”
Now, how big is that accent problem? My book does not have spelling or grammar errors; the best editor in the world (mine) fixed them. And she also mentioned the accent felt within the narrative. Still, she liked it, saying it gave authenticity to stories happening in a world where bizarre and incredible were the norm.
So, I had to thank the reader who spelled out the accent problem. Why? Because in my future books, I have to stay in that world, otherwise writing in English, about the English world, for an English audience, by a non-English native could be problematic. Or maybe not? Should I try it? I’ll think about it. Anyway, my memoir book is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BXFPVYDK https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0BXFPVYDK
I know that some fellow Romanians will view my opinion about the war in Ukraine with mistrust. After World War II, when Stalin redesigned the map of Europe, Romania lost Snake Island in the Black Sea and northern Bucovina to Ukraine. Moreover, the Ukrainian government (to save their identity to the detriment of others) suppressed the Romanian language in schools with a strong Romanian minority. But in this war, the Romanian government and all Romanians with heads on their shoulders cannot be but on Ukraine’s side. One day Ukraine will be part of the EU, and the two countries will be in the same family, where visiting each other will get them closer. But most important, Russia should not win. How can Romanians forget what happened only one generation ago due to Russian control over the country? How can European society progress when a country is fighting with all its might against European traditions to force its own? A country that sees any treaty they sign as a piece of paper, not more? Remember that Ukraine gave all its nuclear weapons to Russia with the condition never to be attacked by its mighty neighbor. And if it is any doubt about what Romanians thought back then, here is a Romanian joke. In a mentally ill institution, police brought in a new patient. The psychiatrist in charge had to question the man to determine what section of the institution he should send the new patient. “Do you know why you are here?” asked the doctor. The guy said with some indifference, “I wanted to escape from the country. They got me at the border with no proper papers, trying to cross.” “But for that, the police should send you to prison, not a mental institution.” “Yeah,” answered the guy, “but I wanted to run toward Russia.”
Those who forgot what a society controlled by Russian ideology looks like read my book. Nothing changed in Russia’s mentality. Romanians who dream of Bucovina or the island of snakes will be sorely disappointed. And remember: any border change means war. Romania signed an engagement not to ask back any territory when they entered NATO. Let’s be good neighbors and friends with the Ukrainians, who suffer immensely to expand Europe and its values.
My book is mainly about everyday people fighting to survive in hard times, but the Russian influence was at the root of how life was lived and is vividly illustrated wherever some explanations were needed.