By Nicholas Gage
A Place For Us by Nicholas Gage is the sequel to the autobiography Eleni. Gage continues where he left off in his previous book, beginning with Eleni’s children’s arrival to America and their unification with their father, Christos. Christos has never met his son since he was born right before World War II and, he hasn’t seen his daughters in many years, so this is an emotional meeting for the family. Although this is a joyful moment, it is also filled with sadness as the family feels the immense void that exists without Eleni. Nicholas, although excited to finally meet his father, feels anger and resentment towards his father. Nicholas doesn’t understand why Christos did not bring his family to America sooner; if he had, Eleni would still be alive today. This theme of anger and resentment is shown throughout most of the book regarding Christos and Nicholas’s relationship. As well, the reality of who his father is, something he has been dreaming about for many years, is a bit disappointing. Christos is a Greek immigrant who is desperately trying to make a name for himself in America. He has taken on some business venters, which have not worked out as well as he had hoped, and he isn’t living the glamourous American life Nicholas always imagined. Nicholas begins to feel embarrassed by Christos. This is an interesting moment in the book, a moment I think many children of immigrants could at one point relate to. Young children don’t understand the struggles of immigrating to a new country and creating a good life for one’s family, they only see what they don’t have, and other kids do have, which could lead to feelings of embarrassment. A Place For Us continues through Nicholas’s childhood and into his adult life; he includes stories about what happens to his sisters and how they all make America their home.
I was very intrigued by this story, the story of a Greek family immigrating to America. My family immigrated to Canada from Greece, and I felt by reading this book, I got a glimpse into my grandparents’ immigration story. I think it gave me a better understanding of the difficulties they experienced. For this reason, I really enjoyed reading this biography. Like in his first book, Eleni, Gage writes about his story with so much detail that you often forget that it isn’t a work of fiction. If you like memoir’s or reading about immigration stories, this would be an excellent book for you!