Here is a portion of the review: The full text was already posted on this website.
The most astounding aspect of this narrative is Chai’s resolve. Despite all the bad, he shared his mother’s determination and believed that life would get better. Although a memoir, Shattered by the Wars is filled with numerous universal themes that heighten this book on a philosophical level. For example, a fifteen-year-old Chai often questioned God’s reasoning for relentlessly testing and punishing those who believe while the less faithful, like his Little Aunt, are unscathed. Consider the notion that simply bowing down to Japan’s emperor would have relieved this family’s problems. Nevertheless, they stayed resolute in their faith.
This book is about Chai and the trials and tribulations that occurred as a result of war. More than that, this is a story about a mother’s love for her children, her family, and her God. Chai’s mother would give away the last morsel of rice to a complete stranger even if she hadn’t eaten all day. She was that type of woman. Her character encompasses the theme of honor, dignity, and tradition in Asian cultures. For example, she waited thirty days to even see her husband’s face after their marriage. It was a different time, but the purity of her intentions and faith are undeniable. For those who believe that life is more important than one’s honor and faith and that intolerance is extinct, examine the current case of a Sudanese woman who is sentenced to death because she will not change her religion from Christianity to Islam.
Ultimately, this story is not about technique, style, or even plot. It is the genuine expression of the human spirit—a man’s desire to dig into the most painful parts of his essence—and pull out a narrative that is both heart wrenching and mesmerizing.