A book review of Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt
When I picked up Silent Tears I didn’t expect to be drawn into Kay Bratt’s story because I am normally not a memoir reader. Normally, when – and if – I pick up a memoir I skim the cover and read a few pages here and there as the words or story captures me. I am rarely captured enough to finish it from cover to cover. This did not prove true with Kay’s memoir, Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage.
It is written in a way that makes me feel like I’m snooping in someone’s journal, but it speaks to me in a way that only a true account, heart-wrenchingly sad and selflessly good book can. For me, it’s more than a mere relaying of events that occurred, it is a message of how to use our gifts and the struggle to be true to that. It’s a story of how not to give up on what your heart – and spirit – are leading you to do. And it’s a story of sharing your experiences in the hopes of helping others to realize their gifts, follow their hearts to share their experiences, which will – in essence – change someone else’s life.
Here’s an excerpt from the book’s cover:
What started out as an adventure for Kay Bratt became an unforgettable and life-changing experience.
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 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.
The love Kay feels for the Chinese children she helped care for leaps off of the page. The surprising conditions of the orphanage and how the children are treated is like a splash of cold reality because although I know (or have heard) such conditions exist; in my mind I was hoping that it would not be true in this day and age. It is for this reason that Silent Tears took me so long to finish. I often long to sit and read it until I’m through, but can sometimes only take a little bit at a time because of the images that flow through my mind because of the details Kay shares. It was also necessary to stop and absorb what Kay had written because I believe there is more than just an account of events here; it is a message.
Not everyone will have a chance to travel to a Third World country or experience the selflessness of a missions trip, but everyone can identify what their gifts are and utilize them to help others. As I near the end of Silent Tears, I hope the message, the accounts of the children’s suffering and the faith in which Kay stood her ground and kept on her mission don’t leave me. Should you decide to read this book be prepared to absorb the message and be moved by the story then let it stay with you so you – as I hope to do – can use your gifts, follow your heart and share your experiences.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Silent Tears to facilitate my review, but that in no way influenced my opinion – those are my own. No other compensation was received. Any links are to my Amazon affiliate account. More information can be found in my complete disclosure policy.