Bianca Jill's Reviews > Chanda's Secrets

Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton
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Feb 16, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from February 11 to 14, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

I find this book very tragic and heart breaking and touching, I couldn't help but cry a little. It has this HEAVY feel that stressed me because it's all about the problems of the character/speaker. I literally think now this is a book of problems. Overall, its a good book you can learn so much from.

The book deals with very sensitive topics such as prostitution, alcoholism, abuse, death,
and above all AIDS/HIV. And to be exposed in such delicate issue when you're just sixteen years old is frightening.

Chanda a sixteen year old girl who had no choice but to leap into adulthood and be in charge to take care of her family. When she was introduced into the story, she was the one who arranges the funeral for her one and a half yr.old half-sister Sara (just how many sixteen year old get to arrange funerals- slim to none). A series of bad luck seems to have followed her and her mother right after that. The death of her father and brothers who were killed in a mine disaster, the humiliation and death of her step-father and step-sister, and now the sickness of her mother and best friend, the possibility of she, herself too (having been sexually abused by her step-father when she was young)as well as her two younger siblings. The possibility of receiving a scholarship and attending school is falling from within the reach of Chanda as well. She must become the mother to her siblings and take full responsibility. AIDS is threatening her family and friends and no one wants to talk about it, no one wants to even say the word AIDS.

"Does bad luck make people miserable? Or do miserable people bring bad luck?"

I find this quote very striking. It makes me wonder why some people always get to suffer while some gets the luxury and pleasures in life to the extreme. No, it's not FAIR. But I guess, when you're one of those people who grew up in an unstable family, you would know that the world don't exist to accommodate you. Me, having to grow up without a father's love and support (morally and financially), can make you realize that life is always a struggle. As Jewel would put it - there are a million ways to lack courage, but there are just as many to be heroic. It's up to you as a person how you would view life.

The ending is very satisfying for me. Readers are exposed to the world where HIV/AIDS is a commonplace, but never spoken of. Little is said about those who suffer from this epidemic (except for rumors and secrets spread within the community), which made me realize that the main solution Stratton provided in the end can be very realistic. Since AIDS is inescapable and incurable, you're only best weapon against it is to ACCEPT and NOT be ashamed of it, especially toward the people who had it. It's the social stigma in the setting that made AIDS so much horrible than it already is.



*“The real reason the dead are piling up is because of something else. A disease too scary to name out loud. If people say you have it, you can lose your job. Your family can kick you out. You can die on the street aloud. So you live in silence, hiding behind the curtain. Not just to protect yourself, but to protect the ones you love, and the good name of your ancestors. Dying is awful. But even worse is dying alone in fear and shame with a lie”*



3 and a half stars for Chanda's Secrets.
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02/13/2011 page 79
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Kwesi 章英狮 Nice review Bianca! I recommend you to read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.


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