emotional informative inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
“Speak, Okinawa” by Elizabeth Miki Brina
Elizabeth does not know her origins, the people and the culture of Okinawa. And yet, she does. In this fascinating memoir, Brina writes about her complicated relationship with her ethnic/cultural identity and the rifts and revisions it brings to her family communication. Brina alternates between her own personal narrative and speaking as Okinawa itself, breathing life into a culture whose diaspora and erasure is often overlooked. In terms of writing, this was a beautiful piece of writing which enthralled me from start to finish as I listened. However, for some reason it didn’t stay with me the way other beautiful memoirs do. I finished the the book the day before a significant work trip, admittedly, so perhaps my life circumstances affected my memory. However, I would argue that a truly 5 star worthy memoir should have still stuck out in my consciousness. So for now, I’ll just say this was a fabulous book but it was missing a kind of “X” factor that I can’t quite pin down. But highly, highly recommend for lovers of memoir and those seeking deeper understanding intercultural and generational intersections.