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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Author Traian Nicola was born in Transylvania in 1949 and was baptized in the Romanian Orthodox Church. However, in those years when the author was growing up, Romania was under Communist rule. Although Traian Nicola's parents tried to give him and his sister a normal childhood, they were living under very difficult times as Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was in power. On page 18, the author writes that "Almost all children were expected to join their school's Pioneer (Communist Party for children) organization in third or fourth grade". Nicola did become a Pioneer and proudly wore the required red scarf. At home, his family did not make any anti-government comments lest they be imprisoned. The author writes of his friendship with neighbor Dan Micu, and how Dan avoided trouble when he and friends sang carols at a party because President Ceausescu's son was also there. Traian Nicola did obtain a position with DIE, the Romanian Communist secret police, after completing his military service. He writes of being stationed in Japan, and then about how he sought political asylum in the United States when told he was being sent to Pakistan but had to leave his baby daughter behind in Romania. Traian and his wife were told to do volunteer work inside and outside the embassy, and enough was enough!
"Good-bye, Dracula" is the honest recounting by author Traian Nicola of his attempts to be a good Romanian citizen and a reliable member of its DIE. As told by the author, what he, his family, and his friends went through was unbelievable. The author's style of writing is superb and the plot follows the author's life from boyhood to adulthood under a controlling form of government that the author saw as evil. Readers everywhere should read "Goodbye, Dracula" as Nicola gives an insider's view of communism and why it should never again be considered as a useful form of government.