Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Review -- One in a Billion 一比十亿 -- 读者书评

Book Review -- One in a Billion 一比十亿 -- 读者书评

One in a Billion - Journey toward Freedom by Kai Chen

一比十亿 -- 通往自由的旅程 陈凯著

Book Review by Theresa Marie Moreau 读者书评 by Theresa Marie Moreau

Profound. Touching. Poetic.

Kai Chen’s compelling autobiography “One in a Billion: Journey Toward Freedom” is a soul-searching confessional in which the author struggles emotionally, mentally and physically to comprehend and then to expose the horrible inhuman reality of the Chinese Communist regime’s never ending noose that strangles the minds, hearts and souls of the people in China.

Read how Mr. Chen, as a young man – sensitive and intelligent – tries to flourish intellectually and spiritually during the treacherous years of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1960s and ’70s. How does a young man make sense in a senseless world? In a Communist society that literally and figuratively murders the individual? Under a soulless dictatorship where life means nothing? Follow along as the author searches for answers to these questions.

Mr. Chen, a virtuoso in the art of basketball, began dribbling on the dirt courts in a forgotten corner of an industrial city in the far outreaches of northeastern China. Fueled by his passion for the sport, he worked endlessly on his talents, which landed him a spot on a professional ball team that practiced daily in the most beautiful basketball courts in the most dangerous, treacherous city in China – Beijing, the capital of the ruthless Red regime.

Read how Mr. Chen fights to be a man, a free man, not a nameless, soulless, mindless cog in the Chinese Communist machine. How he realizes that every living creature – from the metaphorical unwanted Chinese babies tossed to die at the river’s edge to the allegorical baby goldfish swimming to escape their maternal predators – have a purpose in life, a divine and holy purpose.

A beautifully told story with the use of literary techniques that weave the brutal to the beautiful, the horrific to the heartwarming. It’s a gut-wrenching examination of the self. An analysis of man’s brutality. A reflection of an inner struggle. A narrative of a complex being caught in the unyielding, unforgiving iron fist of a Communist dictatorship. A revelation of a sadistic society in which man derives pleasure from another’s pain.

This is a bold and brave telling of a brutal story – from beginning to end.


Bio of the Reviewer 书评者简介

Theresa Marie Moreau is one of the very few reporters fortunate enough to be entrusted to tell the stories of the persecuted underground Roman Catholics of China. Her interviewing skills and respect for their vocations has gained Moreau the trust of those normally reticent to speak about their suffering, not from humility, but from fear – so instilled in them is the terror of Communist persecution.

Moreau has worked for the Los Angeles Times, where in a newsroom filled with grizzled veterans she earned the nickname “The Pitbull,” for her tenacity and agression when she grabbed hold of a story. She has also covered the Los Angeles Police Department for the Daily News of Los Angeles and worked as a beat reporter and city editor for Times Community News. She has also been a copy editor for Live! Magazine and a freelance writer for numerous publications during her career.

Having developed a “beat” of the Roman Catholic Church, Moreau has been published in Catholic periodicals, including: The New Oxford Review, The Remnant and Crisis Magazine, as well as China Infodoc Serivce, an online news service.

Her stories about the persecuted faithful in China have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and Romanian.

The Missionary Society of St. Columban handed over to Moreau in 2007 files of rough, nearly unintelligible notes and hired her to edit and research the project. The result: the 88,000-word memoir of the Rev. Fr. William Aedan McGrath, “Perseverance Through Faith: A Priest's Prison Story,” which may be purchased from

An award-winning journalist, in 2000, Moreau won first place in the coveted Los Angeles Times Editorial Awards for Reporting. That same year she received the Investigative/Watchdog Award presented by the Orange County Press Club Journalism Awards. In previous years, she won many awards from the Greater Los Angeles Press Club Southern California Journalism Awards, including those in the categories for News Writing, Magazine Feature, Feature Reporting Body of Work, Series of News Stories, Spot News and Feature Reporting.

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