Long before she was born, Dominika first appeared to her mother in a dream, so when she came to be, she was welcomed with eager expectation and much love. Though her arrival was auspicious, as the child of recognized dissidents associated with the failed Prague Spring uprising, Dominika’s life would be far from charmed. Her mother was disowned by her parents, who were members of the Party elite. Her father was an inventor whose politics resulted in his working as a taxi driver, but who nevertheless remained an unrepentant optimist. Rounding out the family-colorful, even by local standards-were a beautiful, voluptuous teenage sister with many male admirers and an enormous St. Bernard who was a famous Czech TV star.
This is by far one of my favorite memoirs. Although, Dominika is shunned by many of her peers and neighbors, she has an unbreakable spirit and audacity that made me cheer her on no matter how far-fetched her plans were. Her father was the source of her optimism and daring as he seemed to thrive on adversity. While the secret police were always tailing him, he managed to outwit them every time. The scene in which he diverts their attempts to gather information on him as they volunteer to help fix up his backyard is unforgettably funny. For those who are adverse to non-fiction, it often reads like a good story. I was charmed by the characters and couldn’t wait to finish it. Oh, and I learned a little bit about Czech history, too.