, Research Paper
The book The Forbidden City is written by William Bell and contains 299 pages. The theme in this serious, fiction adventure novel is about a seventeen-year old boy named Alex Jackson, his father, a CBC news cameraman, and their adventure in China and how they survived the worst of times during China s history.
The place is Beijing, China and the time is 1989, a year that China’s Government tries desperately to cover up and keep buried forever. It starts with Alex Jackson, the main character, and his photographer father, taking Alex away to Beijing on assignment to join his news partner, Eddie Nowlan. Alex isn’t exactly a reporter, but rather a tourist or assistant dragged along by his father for the experience in learning and looking at China’s beauty and history. This wasn’t exactly what was about to occur. Staying in the Beijing Hotel, Alex was able to see the beginning of a civil revolt, as the students began to protest. The students continued to standoff, as the government brought in troops. As the troops inched forward, they executed the students by the dozens even by the hundreds. Alex decided to take a ground view of this situation and began to get involved. Going down the street to check on the action in Tienamin Square. Alex was injured. However, a group of Chinese University students rescued him. They fixed his wound and tended to his needs. Imagine seeing new found friends, innocent people, even bystanders, slaughtered in the blink of an eye. Incredible horrors are brought to your attention and you question how a country could do this to its own people.
The author brings out very good realism with every sentence as if you could just be there, feeling the emotions and seeing the events. The author also has an interesting writing form in that this story was written as a diary or log in association with moment by moment events. As you go along you begin to think like Alex, feel, and see the same things that he sees as if you were with him right there at that moment. You’re like a part of the story. You could tell by the writing, that the writer did a lot of research in areas such as language, culture, and history. He had all kinds of real phrases and names like Shan Da, Alex’s Chinese name. He brought into reality actual history and tales which were really amazing. All of this made his story even better.
The Forbidden City is an emotional, dramatic, well written story that reminded me of how awful people can be and how ignorant a government can be. It shows people speaking up towards the government, trying to make China a better place to live. I recommend this novel for all who like books based on true stories mixed up with fiction. The theme of this story will make you think about life and how good we have it here in the US and that we take things like freedom and civil rights for granted. It showed a transformation of a boy to a man after all the things that Alex went through. He saw a total different world when he went to China. He experienced things he only thought were possible in a history book or a horror story. He left China with an awareness that not everywhere in the world people have it as good as in the US and that even now there are people in the world fighting for such things as freedom of speech, civil rights, and democracy that we consider fundamental. I enjoyed this book alot even though it got boring at times. This book had a lot of ups and downs that either wanted you to put the book down or hook you to read more and more.