Rauni Ollikainen: Finnish beginnings. A childhood in Finland. A memoir

17 October 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

ollikainenFinnish beginnings. A childhood in Finland. A memoir
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012. 240 p., ill.
ISBN 978-1481829571
$20.40, paperback

This first volume of Rauni Ollikainen’s memoirs deals with her early life in Finland and her family’s emigration, when she was eight years old, to a new life in Vancouver, Canada. The details of her childhood, as a member of a proudly working-class Helsinki family – saunas, school, pets, her relationships with her two sisters – are lovingly chronicled. They are interestingly interleaved with the larger history around them – the Winter and Continuation Wars, and Ollikainen’s own evacuation to Sweden, which she was, frustratingly for the reader, too small to remember, and the uncertain political situation in which Finland found itself after the war, which was to prompt the Ollikainens’ departure. The book ends with the early years in Canada as the family begins to find its feet, with more promised in a follow-up volume. Although it would benefit from more in the way of narrative drive, this rich and well-observed memoir gives voice to the experience of thousands of emigrant Finns.

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