My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a little story about Anneli who has lived in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia all her fourteen years until her father suddenly packs them up and returns to Canada. They change their names and take up residence in Toronto, where her father believes her mother, who ran away from the colony ten years earlier might be living. Why they have fled Bolivia is the central theme of the story.
Personally I found it disappointing the lack of information or research that Trilby Kent did in showing us the life Anneli would have lived in Bolivia as a Mennonite. There was very little given about the Mennonite culture or community which was a big drawer to the book.
The book sometimes feels confusing and chaotic as Anneli’s thoughts and observations are as she tries to make sense of her new culture with the mindset of her old culture where God was the centre of her life and every decision made. As she assimilates into life in Canada her faith melts away, which raises the question did she really have a faith of her own or was it simply a cultural statement for her. This question is never even raised, much less explored.
The story is told from current day Toronto with flashbacks from the colony she lived in in Bolivia. We are privy to Anneli’s hunt for her missing mother and trying to make sense of her father’s choices and behaviour when he continually avoids telling her anything. We see the struggle to make a relationship with the mother and we see the father unable to cope with life in a busy city.
I was hoping for more than it delivered.