Powerful story of the oppression of Romanian citizens

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Powerful story of the oppression of Romanian citizens under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu.

Set in 1989, the story follows the day-to-day life of 17-year-old Cristian Florescu. I never realized the extent to which paranoia and fear ruled their lives. You never knew who was an informant. Your best friend? Your sister? Your girlfriend? Ceaușescu first isolated Romania from the rest of the world. Then, by recruiting (often blackmailing) informants, he isolated citizens from each other. They knew their homes were bugged so were not even free in their own homes. I just could not imagine how confining it was to live as they did.

And while Ceaușescu and his family lived with wealth surrounding them, the Romanian citizens lacked food, electricity, all the things we take for granted.

Cristian plots to undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe. Can he do it? Cristian and his friends were true heroes. They risked their lives to let the world know what was going on in Romania. Cristian dreams of being a writer someday, but Romanians had little chance of fulfilling their dreams. I could easily feel the mental anguish the characters endured day after day. When the Revolution began, I was on edge, afraid to turn the page. Afraid to know what happened next.

I also got a better understanding of Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America. It was only through their broadcasts that the citizens of Romania learned that the Communist nations around them were crumbling.

The book is well written, and it is obvious that the author did a lot of research.