This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Dreaming in Chinese: Memoirs from a Taiwanese Prison by William Tsung is a relatively short but impactful account of life inside a Taiwanese prison. The author is what was known as an ABC (American Born Chinese). When he traveled from California to Taiwan in January 2016 to visit family, he had no idea a simple decision would cause him so much pain and grief. “Edibles” i.e. marijuana-laced food was now legal in the States and he gave no thought to the dangers of bringing these legal drugs into Taiwan in his luggage. Arrested at the airport, William found himself caught up in a justice system hell-bent on teaching him and others like him a lesson. He became the government’s face of Taiwan’s “war on drugs” and was charged with importation for supply. Despite understanding and speaking some Chinese, William found himself swept along in a court system that he had little understanding of and little ability to defend himself in. Although ultimately his charges would be reduced, he would eventually be sentenced to two years in Taiwan’s prison system. It was there he would begin to understand the true magnitude of what his mistake would cost him. He would endure the uncaring, unhelpful, downright unsanitary, and dangerous conditions within prison walls in Taiwan but he would also discover the kindness and support of many of his fellow inmates as well as that of his family as he struggled to hold onto his dignity, humanity, and identity in this faceless monolith called the Taiwanese prison system.
Dreaming in Chinese is a clarion call to those of us who travel overseas, especially around Asia, highlighting the need to be very aware of the local laws in the counties we visit. Some countries treat drug offenses extremely harshly and traveling to them should never be taken lightly or in the belief that “it’s okay because I’m just a tourist”. Author William Tsung pulls no punches as he describes the sheer filth and hopelessness that pervades the prison system in Taiwan. Well-written and based on Tsung’s journals written in prison and later smuggled out by him, this story is deeply personal and moving. I’m sure some readers will shudder at the conditions the author describes as well as identify with the intense frustrations and loneliness he would experience from time to time. I appreciated that the author was upfront and honest about himself when he entered prison and accepted that there were parts of his character that required work. I enjoyed watching his development as a person within the prison walls and his acceptance that certain things would need to change about him once he was released. Perhaps the most striking thing about his time in prison, for me, was the way the rules were used to induce doubt and anxiety into the prisoners as if this was some sort of additional punishment invented by the regime on top of their loss of liberty. William Tsung would only serve a “short-term” sentence but it was clear he could identify with and share the pain of those who were there, not just for years, but for decades. This was an excellent read that I can highly recommend.