I have once read somewhere that great books just have ways to get into our life. And I've been a believer of this line for quite sometimes, and I was just getting more sure when I found Winter Dreams. I frankly just randomly picked up the book while doing my monthly book shopping. I was skimming through the book shelves when my gaze was fixed on this book: Winter Dreams. At that moment, I hadn't known a single thing about the (amazing) author, Maggie Tiojakin. But the synopsis and cover fascinated me. A life of Indonesian in US. Wow, I've always been that kind of girl who dreams one day can own a flat in Manhattan just with a window viewing Empire States. So I decided to buy the novel. And turns out it couldn't be a better decision in any either way.
On the early pages of the book, the story revolves around a not-so-happy life of an Indonesian young man, Nicky F. Rompa. And he was kind of "accidentally" moved to US. He stayed there with his aunt, uncle, and their daughter in Mass, Boston. A simple misunderstanding happened, and Nicky was kicked out of his aunt's house and in a blistering second he became a homeless and illegal immigrant. The story of Nicky followed with his up-side-down-life. His love story with a Russian girl, and later to a Mexican older woman. Nicky endeavored to be a writer, but on the other hand, he should work hard making money, as an illegal alien and being paid under hand. All people he met, every single little moment that happened, and through all the gravels, Nicky learnt his own purpose of life on a stranger land where he's not (legally) welcomed.
What I love the most from this story is the fact that the character, Nicky, is not that type of perfect guy. He made mistakes. He didn't always try to make it better. He disappointed people. He lied. He made bad decisions. But he had dreams. He believed in what he wanted to do. In the end, I found that Nicky is not a superficial character. He maybe seems a little "anti-hero" but he is honest in his imperfections. What were his fears and his insecurities could just portray our own, though we are not illegal aliens in US. The other thing that I love is the cultural richness that we can find in people that Nicky encountered. From Russian to Jews to Vietnamese to Pakistan, all those characters' existences in the book are so strongly supported with the cultural backgrounds. This really makes them becoming more real and "human".
When I finished the book, I just felt that the author, Maggie, teaches every reader of the book by not preaching, but simply by being a really good narrator of Nicky's adventure. I got a lot of lessons from this book, but I feel like gaining them, learning them just from Nicky's life, and not straightly written in the book. A rare (but extremely great) feeling I get after finishing a book I must say!
"Life has a strange sense of humor, and sometimes God makes up
for it by working in mysterious ways"
P.S.: It's on my five-stars-rated shelve on Goodreads.com. Side to side with To Kill A Mockingbird.