Book Review: When I Was Better
When I Was Better was written by Rita Bozi and published by Atmosphere Press in 2022. You can purchase it on Amazon/Kindle and you can visit the author on Amazon and on social media.
Rita Bozi is a brilliant storyteller and writer. She writes from experience and knowledge, being that she was raised by Hungarian refugees.
When I Was Better looks at the embattled relationship between István and Teréza during the Nazi invasion and Soviet occupation of Hungary in 1956. István is forced to leave his wife and infant son in Hungary during the time that the invaders have crushed the Hungarian Revolution. István finally makes it to Canada where he endeavors to start a new life and to hopefully wait for a future reunion with his wife and son. Teréza is left to endure the trauma of war in an occupied country and has to keep secrets amid the weight of humiliation, shame, isolation and violent acts against her. Through letters and faith, the couple struggles to maintain their relationship through the years, all the while, holding out hope that they will someday be reunited. This novel highlights a refugee crisis and it shows how an autocracy can corrupt its citizens into compliance. It also allows us to see how after over sixty years, we are still at danger of being ruled and having our families ripped apart. Rita Bozi is a brilliant storyteller and writer. She writes from experience and knowledge, being that she was raised by Hungarian refugees. Her characters are very well developed and engaging; her descriptions of place and the details that were penned in most of the dramatic scenes placed me deep into her story. During this time, I think it's especially important to realize that we may live in a country where we believe we live in a stable democracy but in reality, we are teetering on the edge of falling into the kind of lives that István and Teréza led. It was a riveting and emotional story which kept me turning the pages. Rita Bozi has a talent and I hope we will see more from this amazingly gifted writer and author. This is a must read!
I give When I Was Better 5 out of 5 stars.
Rita Bozi is a scheduled guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show #130 on January 9, 2023