When the innocence of a child is tainted by the gruesome realities of the world, then paradise becomes an unattainable dream.
Paradise Taken: The Diary of Eden Flores Part I is a collection of true events about a girl named Eden Flores. The author, Omar Gonzalez, captures Eden’s life experiences remarkably in this book and shares them with us in the form of stories and poems.
The book begins with stories about Eden’s childhood and her family. The family visits her parents’ native place called El Paraiso (“Paradise”). Here, Eden first realizes after witnessing certain events that life is far from being anywhere close to a paradise. As young kids, Eden and her brothers would always look for reasons to escape so they could avoid the chaos and violence at home. But, even the outside world had its perils and dangers which she soon experienced. The ordeal just gets worse, making it an immersive reading experience.
All Eden ever wanted was a life filled with smiles and simple joys with her family. But how does one cope when family inflicts the most amount of pain? There are many things in this world that we take for granted and don’t appreciate enough, Paradise Taken is a book that makes us realize that.
It discusses themes around racism, religion, sorrow, suffering, domestic violence, and sexual child abuse. The careful interweaving of stories and poems provide an impactful narrative that stay with you after the last page.
Also find my review on Reedsy.