Top positive review
"Never Stop Walking;" Power of Unconditional Love of a Child for Mom Despite Agony...
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 1, 2018
Before you go on to my review - this would make a fantastic movie.
To be brutally honest, I took this book almost only because none of the other five appealed to me. Okay, "A Marriage In Dog Years" tugged at me, but the first review of it dissuaded me. However, I've not had great experiences lately when reading books translated into English, so I was quite hesitant. Obviously, though, since I rated it four, no, make that five stars (as explained at the end of this review), 'Never Stop Walking" by Christina Rickardson was more pleasing than I had expected.
First though, let me share a quote:
A baby is born with a need to be loved - and never outgrows it - Frank Howard Clark
Demakis, Joseph. The Ultimate Book of Quotations (p. 380). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
The point of this quotation is that babies, as they age into toddlers, still have that need to be loved by a parent figure. Usually, this is the mother. However, the circumstances in which that child is being raised is far less critical to the emotional makeup of that baby to him or her. Even living in squalor, or being severely abused, that child often retains a love for its parent that a dog has for its master. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
While reading "Never Stop Walking" I was taken back to my own, sheltered, upbringing. By today's standards (which I feel go too far), I was mildly abused. Not at a level that even current California authorities would have removed us though. As to my first wife and her siblings, though, they were so badly abused that they should have been removed. I say this even knowing how the kids would have rebelled. At any rate, while reading this book, I could see my first wife, her brothers, and sisters, all nodding in agreement with the sentiments expressed by Rickardson.
Just as important, the translation is so smooth that I had to double-check to see if it even is a translation.
BLUSH FACTOR: Bearing in mind that Christina grew up in less than optimum conditions, there are profanities, but so few as to barely need mention.
'...Another memory strongly imprinted on me is my last night in the forest, the end of our life in the caves. I must have been about five years old, and I was asleep in the cave that was a little deeper in the forest. I was alone. From time to time, I took care of myself while Mamãe was away. On this night, I’d fallen asleep by a little log fire that I had proudly made on my own. Mamãe had taught me how to light a fire in a pineapple-like cactus plant that burned for a long time and would provide heat and keep the animals away.
I woke up with Mamãe shaking me, and when I looked at her, she had her index finger in front of her lips, shushing me. I saw that the fire had been put out. Mamãe whispered that we had to run. I didn’t ask why. I could tell from the stress in her voice that now was not the time to ask. Something dangerous was out there. Mamãe took my hand, and we started running. We ran out away from the cave and up the little mountain. We didn’t take anything with us, not even our machete. I was wearing only shorts. It was dark, and I could hardly make out what was ahead of me. Mamãe kept a firm hold of my hand, and as we ran, I felt the branches and twigs scraping my skin. I tried to protect my face. I was barefoot and couldn’t see where I was putting my feet. It hurt, but I didn’t dare say anything. I just did my best to keep up. I still didn’t know what was chasing us. Suddenly, Mamãe stopped, and I could hear how out of breath I was. I had scratches on my face, my stomach, my arms and legs, and they stung. I could feel that some of the wounds on my legs were bleeding. Then I heard men’s voices farther below us in the forest. I turned around toward the sound and saw a gleam of light from a flashlight. Mamãe whispered that I should jump down into the hollow in front of us, and I did so immediately. I understood that the men were after us and that the situation was more dangerous than if they’d been wild animals. Mamãe sat down in the little hollow with me, took some dirt, and started to rub it onto my face, my hair, my arms, my belly, my legs. It stung, and I flinched but remained silent. Then she did the same to herself. She reached up and grabbed a pile of twigs and covered the hollow. It was pitch-black. Mamãe sat close against me. It was so crowded that we could hardly move. I heard the men’s voices approaching and dogs barking. I wondered why we were being hunted. What had Mamãe done? My legs fell asleep, and I wanted to change the position I was in, but I didn’t dare.
Mamãe was completely quiet. I heard the voices approaching, and the dogs. And then I felt something crawl over one of my arms and...'
Rickardsson, Christina. Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World (pp. 18-19). Amazon Crossing. Kindle Edition.
At the risk of repetition, I want to state that the sensitive, almost literary flow of the descriptions enabled me to see through Christina's eyes the life she lived as a naive toddler. It is not a huge stretch to state that I felt I was reliving my own memories. I definitely will be sharing this book with friends and family, as I believe it is more important as a teaching tool, even, than it is an enjoyable pastime.
When I started this review I was going to rate it four stars. In retrospection, though, I'm raising it to five. A truly inspiring, informative memoir that is so much more than just a memoir.
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