Vivie's Secret
by Terry Lee Caruthers
Black Rose Writing

"The one thing Vivie knew for sure was that nothing would or ever could take the place of her beloved cat."

In this book, Caruthers explores the events of the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary through the lenses of her protagonist, Vivie. When Vivie was a child, she had to flee Hungary with her family. Unfortunately, she had to leave behind her beloved cat, Norsk. This separation caused her sorrow and sadness, as she saw Norsk as a member of her family. It was hard for Vivie to cope with this reality. In addition, the author points out the fact that the family stayed united and fought hard to get out of Hungary. They eventually succeeded but with a few bumps on the road. Along the way, they met allies and friends that helped them out. Sadly, Vivie's mother passed away, leaving the protagonist feeling guilty. Vivie's father would send her to the United States, hoping for a better life for his daughter, and enlist her to keep a family secret.

The author focuses on the theme that objects or animals can never truly be replaced, especially if one has a personal attachment to them. For instance, when Vivie realizes that she cannot take her cat with her, she is devastated. Her father tells her that he will get her another one, but deep down, she knows he cannot replace her pet because of all of the loving memories she has with her. Another example is when her sister Mae loses her doll. She is given a new one, but she refuses to take it. Indeed, memories cannot be replaced or changed. Caruthers also addresses the theme of xenophobia. For example, three men attack and beat up Vivie's father because of his origins. The author manages to express the depths of the main character's feelings beyond the plot's events, and readers will appreciate this honesty.

A 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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