For Bulgaria I read Street Without a Name Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria by Kapka Kassabova. This book made me glad that I grew up where I did. The author of this book is just a few years younger then I am and so we grew up in the same time period. What a difference location makes.
She grew up in Bulgaria before the Berlin wall fell, I grew up in the United States, and we both faced growing up with Propaganda. The propaganda we grew up with amazingly was just the same. Our country\way of life is the best, and the rest of the world is wrong, but I think that all kids are taught that.
I knew from history books about the food lines, and how strict the schooling was. I just never thought of it involving children, I think that has to do with the media and what images that they show. They hardly ever show children.
The other thing that I found interesting is the defining points of history for her. I remember when the Berlin Wall fell, and how huge a news story that was here in the west. To her it was just a side note. Her defining point was Chernobyl. There was a definite before and after Chernobyl. While it was a worry here, for her it was a reality. She got sick, and people that she knew died.
In the second half of the book she goes back to Bulgaria. For me this part of the book seemed like it did not fit the rest. It was more history, and I think she was looking for some type of closure that never came about.
“Lies, big and small, nibbled at the fabric of our lives like moths.”
“Youth was not a city. It was citizen storage.”
“Beauty might be important to the ego of countries, but truth is more important to me.”
“Because how can you truly know yourself, and how can you know other places and people, if you don’t even know where you came from?”