Sunday 13 July 2014

Book ~ "My Journey" (2014) Olivia Chow

From Goodreads ~ What drives Olivia Chow? How did she emerge from a turbulent childhood to become an inspiring political force? What influences and events have shaped her life? And how is she continuing her quest after losing her partner in life and politics?

When she was thirteen, Olivia’s middle-class family moved from Hong Kong to Toronto but the transition was difficult. Her mother went from having a maid to being a maid. Her father failed to carve out a working life for himself in Canada - frustrated and bitter, he lashed out at Olivia’s mother and violence darkened their lives. A rebellious yet playful child, Olivia discovered self-discipline and became an excellent student in Canada, studying fine art and philosophy at university. After graduating, Olivia worked for a time as a sculptor. Then, driven by a desire to achieve social change, the artist became an activist, and she launched her political career.

As a popular and much-admired school trustee and Toronto city councillor - the first Asian woman in that role - Olivia honed a grassroots approach and crafted progressive programs that enhanced the lives of others, especially children. Strong-willed, focused and passionate, Olivia got things done by bringing together people from all parts of the political spectrum.

In the mid-1980s, Olivia met Jack Layton. Their dynamic partnership, unprecedented in Canadian political life, made a powerful impact in Toronto, and on the national stage. Together, they forged a strong vision for a better country and for enlightened political change. But when her beloved partner and political soulmate died in the summer of 2011, how did she find the strength to move forward? What might we learn from her inspiring story? Those answers are here, in Olivia: My Journey.

I'm not political at all.  I don't know the differences between the political parties and tend to vote for the one who seems to me like a good person.

Chow was the member of Parliament in our riding (Trinity-Spadina) since 2006 before she quit to run for the mayor of Toronto.  Her stepson, Mike Layton, represents our riding (Ward 19) on the Toronto City Council.

I think that our current mayor, Rob Ford, is an A-hole, liar and bully ... needless to say, he won't be getting my vote!  The mayoral election is coming up soon and I thought this book would be a good way to get to know Chow, one of the frontrunners.

She was born into middle-class in Hong Kong.  Her family moved to Toronto when she was 13.  Her parents were well-educated and had good jobs in Hong Kong.  This wasn't the case when they moved to Canada.  Her mother became a maid in a hotel and her father was unable to find a job and he took his frustrations physically and emotionally out on this wife.

Chow's upbringing and experiences drove her to work for change for immigrants, children, the elderly, spending tax payers' money wisely, etc. She eventually got into politics starting as a school trustee and working her way to being a member of Parliament.  Along the way, she met and married Jack Layton, who eventually became the leader of the NDP party.

This book details her career and accomplishments, her life with Layton and her life after he died in 2011.  She seems to be a caring person who will fight hard for what she believes in.

I like reading bios and I liked this book.  It gave me a good insight on who she is and the workings of politics.  I think what was missing, though, were pictures ... there weren't any and it would have been nice to see some since it's a bio.

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

That sounds like a great read.