Written by: Kay Bratt
Published by: Self-published
Date: July 3, 2008
“An eye-opening account of life in China’s orphanages. Kay Bratt vividly details the conditions and realities faced by Chinese orphans in an easy-to-read manner that draws the reader in to the heart-wrenching moments she has experienced in her work to bring hope to these children.”—Dan Cruver, cofounder and director of Together for Adoption
When her family relocated to rural China in 2003, Kay Bratt was thrust into a new world, one where boys were considered more valuable than girls and poverty and the one-child policy had created an epidemic of abandoned infants. As a volunteer at a local orphanage, Bratt witnessed conditions that were unfathomable to a middle-class mother of two from South Carolina.
Based on Bratt’s diary of her four years working at the orphanage, Silent Tears offers a searing account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Bratt found ways to work within (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. Her story balances the sadness and struggles of life in the orphanage with moments of joy, optimism, faith, and victory. It is the story of hundreds of children—and one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway.
Every now and then I like to mix up my reading list, which consists mostly of fiction, with a non-fiction book. I don't remember how I stumbled upon this one, but once I read the plot summary I decided I should add it to my list. It has since become one of my most recommended books of the year.
As it says in the plot above, Kay relocated to the harsh life of China with her family in 2003. While her husband went off to work, and their young daughter went off to school, Kay decided to volunteer at a local orphanage. It was like nothing you could ever imagine.
Now this book is not an easy read, especially as you are painfully aware that what you are reading is a true account of the conditions in China. It also made me want to head over to China and adopt all these children myself. It's heartbreaking and disturbing but also very uplifting to see Kay's determination to help these children.
I don't want to say too much about it so as to not spoil this book, but I will say that I feel this a very important book for us to read. It gives us insight into life in China. A life that is so very different than mine, and quite possibly yours.
The writing of the book isn't first class. It's not perfect, and the book is really a series of diary entries of her daily life which some may not enjoy, but she doesn't hold a lot back. She's very honest about her experiences, as painful as they may be and for me that over rode any questionable writing or lack of editing.
I'm going to give Silent Tears 5 stars. Simply because it touched me and really made me think about my own life, and how important it is to help others out who aren't as fortunate. I recommend this book to everyone.