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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Mother Tongue: A Saga of Three Generations of Balkan Women by Tania Romanov is a non-fictional memoir about Tania’s family background and her heritage. Mother Tongue is a story that moves through multiple generations. The book begins with Tania visiting their homeland in Croatia from America with her mother. As her mother walks along the familiar streets of her town after several years away, the story unfolds and we are taken into the past, into how life was for Tania’s parents and grandparents in the Balkan region. Tania takes us through the history of Yugoslavia and the Balkan nations, and how their geography and politics have changed over time in the last 100 years. Through this, she talks in depth about her mother’s childhood, family life in their region, language, food, the onslaught of several wars that led to the disintegration and reformation of national boundaries multiple times, and their immigration to America where Tania grew up. The book also contains several old photos of her family members and life in the olden days.
Mother Tongue: A Saga of Three Generations of Balkan Women is an interesting memoir and is intriguing because the Balkan history is relatively less known in the world. So, to hear it first hand from people who lived it is nice and lends authenticity to the narrative. I enjoyed learning about the local cultures, customs, the various types of ethnic foods, and the political and religious landscape of those times. It is also thought-provoking considering it is written mostly from the perspective of women, and Tania writes candidly about her at times tense relationship with her mother. Overall, though, Tania has woven a neat narrative that ultimately highlights the close bond her family shares not only with each other, but also with their past history and heritage.