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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
The Wanderer - A Tear and A Smile: Reflections of an Immigrant is Ronesa Aveela’s amazing celebration of Bulgarian history, culture, and faith, intertwined with her heart-warming personal experiences. Hopeful for a better future, Aveela and her husband left Bulgaria for America where she has lived for twenty years. Still, her childhood memories, the vibrant Bulgarian culture, and the warmth of her family have remained with her. In the memoir, she discusses various aspects of Bulgarian customs and traditions, drawing insightful lessons from them. The first chapter explores the role faith has played in the lives of Bulgarians for centuries. Aveela explains that even during the oppression of the Communist regime and the Ottoman Empire, the belief in God served as a source of guidance and hope for Bulgarians.
Ronesa Aveela’s coverage of the Bulgarian heritage is extensive and, hence, the memoir offers vast information about the country. Reading this book felt like an invitation to understand, appreciate, enjoy, and learn from Bulgarian traditions. The art, songs, and poetry included in the work make it even more lively and warm. Aveela’s ability to connect the present with the past and draw wisdom from her culture is remarkable. The memoir also explores Bulgaria’s political past. Despite the oppression her family suffered during the Communist era, their dedication to family, their faith, and their identity was unchanging. Their stories, consequently, are inspiring. Bulgarian cuisine is also featured in the memoir. The patience and skill required to prepare the dishes and pastries are impressive, and the meaning behind each dish was interesting to learn. The Wanderer - A Tear and A Smile is a beautiful exploration of Bulgarian culture and the wisdom that can be drawn from it.