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2007- 2015 American Authors Association

Reviews (by Author)

Reviews (by Title)


Title:  Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind

Author:  Paula Kamen

Publisher:  DaCapo Press

Reviewer: W. H. McDonald, Jr. AAA Founder

A Personal Look at What Was a Brilliant Life!

Author Paula Kamen really walked a fine literary line between her own personal friendship, the mourning process, and the telling of a great, but tragic story. Her book, "Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind" is itself a brilliant effort and one that grabs the reader's heart and mind. This biography is intimate and reflective of not just Chang's life but also suggests a look inside the author as well.

The public knows all about the works of Iris Chang and her voice that told the world about the Chinese Holocaust by the Japanese at Nanking. She was a very successful writer and author. She was known world wide but few knew the real person she was.

Suicide is something, that in some way, touches every human life on earth. When someone we know personally, or learn about from the media, takes their own lives, it always leaves huge unanswered questions. On a personal level, I have had several close friends kill themselves. I never have found any "good reason" for doing that. It is the author's own search, I believe, for those reasons and answers that drove her to write this accounting of a beautiful life.

The book is a page turner and holds you emotionally hostage long after you stop reading it. You are haunted by Iris's last phone call to the author when she leaves her a cryptic clue of what was going to happen. It is always easy to see these as obvious suicide messages retrospectively - but at the time, that thought rarely occurs to friends and family.

The book is a story that needed telling; and being told by a friend is much warmer and compassionate than from a stranger. I am glad that the author took this story on. It may even be of some help for those on the edge themselves.

To say I enjoyed the book would be wrong - as it was painful to know where the story was going to end and how. But like a witness to an bad accident, one just cannot pull away and leave the author's words unread. For some reason, it would feel like a violation. Kamen's words can easily be read but the understanding of why Chang took her life may never be satisfactorily known.

A powerful and serious book that it is truly a gift from a friend to a friend. A FIVE STAR BOOK.

Winner of the 2008 American Authors Association's Golden Quill Award!


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