Freedom Swimmer by Wai Chim
Published by Allen & Unwin
Wai Chim states that this story was inspired by the experiences her own father and many thousands of youth who braved shark infested waters to reach the then British colony of Hong Kong in the hopes of having a better life.
Set in Communist China in the 1960-70’s the story is told through Ming and Li. Ming is a village boys who has lost his parents and works in the fields. Li is from the city and is very different to Ming. Li has come with the city boys to be re-educated and learn the ways of the village. Like other city boys he is not used to hard labour and village life. Ming has reservation ns about Li but they form a bond during their evening swims and learn they have shared dreams.
The boys begin to find life hard under the Party. Soon the thought of the impossible; freedom, fills their minds.
Each chapter is told in the first person, alternating between Ming & Li. This helps to keep the pace of the novel and allows the story to move with intensity.
I would recommend this novel for 11-14 year olds. As an adult, I also enjoyed the novel and taking in a small taste of Chinese history.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Wai Chim
Title: Freedom Swimmer
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: August 2016