My Name is Victoria: The Extraordinary Story of One Woman's Struggle to Reclaim her True Identity

Victoria Donda Bookcover
Victoria Donda
Penguin Random House
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I was seduced to read this book by the premise. Not that it is like a fictional premise-it is Victoria Donda's life. Because of her politics, Victoria's mother "disappeared" and Victoria was taken from her, and given to another family. Victoria lived for years believing she was part of that family, then discovered the truth. When I heard what the book was about, I knew it would be a dramatic and interesting story. The premise and the promise of the story did not live up to its potential. The story was badly organized, and badly presented. There is only a small portion of the book that is actually about how Victoria lived, and how she discovered the truth. It is presented awkwardly, sporadically, and keeps going back and forth in a way that is sure to lose anyone's interest (I am sad to say.) The timeline is disorganized. I plodded through and wished with every page that there was not so much more of it still left to read. Sad to say, the best part of the book is probably the family pictures.

However interesting My Name is Victoria: The Extraordinary Story of One Woman's Struggle to Reclaim her True Identity should have been, I was far from swept away by the middle-school writing. The truth is that I cannot know if the book was badly written in its original language, or if the miserable English version (which is what I read) was bad and badly translated. I had to force myself to get through it, partially because of the book's 'style' and partially because it was so political. There were problems with presentation, and pacing, and frankly, the story just went on and on, not unlike this review. (I should have just stopped with 'poorly written.) If I were a student of Argentinian politics, I might have had more incentive to give the book a fair chance. Or maybe not.

I do have respect and sympathy for Victoria Donda, and I feel a certain pride in how she managed to take charge of her life in spite of her true family and life being stolen from her. Growing up the victim of a brutal regime must have been no picnic. I just wish the book had managed to tell her story in a better way.