Even as a six-year-old child, Evelyn Lau already knew what she would be in life—a writer. She would spend countless hours in her room writing short stories and poems trying to avoid the suffocating reality surrounding her. At the age of fourteen, forbidden by her strict parents to “waste” any more of her time writing, Evelyn did the only thing she felt she could do—she ran away.
For two years, Lau lived on the streets of Vancouver. For a while she embraced her new life, seduced by the sense of freedom and independence from the pressures of school and family. But like so many others before her, Lau soon fell into a dangerous spiral of drug addiction and prostitution. During her two harrowing years on the street, Lau’s writing ambition never left her; almost obsessively, she kept a written record of her days on the street; this record is Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid.
A bestselling memoir, Runaway is a story of survival: physical, emotional and psychological. It is at times tragic, sometimes infuriating, but always honest and inspired; Runaway makes no apologies and offers no solutions. It is a vivid and frightening portrait of a young girl’s life on the street.
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EVELYN LAU was born in Vancouver in 1971. She is the author of Fresh Girls and Other Stories, Other Women and Choose Me; and three collections of poetry: You Are Not Who You Claim, which won the Milton Acorn Memorial People’s Poetry Award; Oedipal Dreams, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry; and In the House of Slaves. Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid was made into a TV movie in 1994. Evelyn Lau lives in Vancouver.From Publishers Weekly:
Lau's journal, a best seller in her native Canada, is a brutally frank account of her life on the streets of Vancouver after running away from a traditional Chinese home at the age of 14. Her extremely repressive parents forbade Evelyn from creative writing, which was both her obsession and, later, the key to her survival: "Who am I if not a writer? It's all I have-this pile of crumpled paper that follows me everywhere in my backpack, words breathing life, my existence." Her chronicles of time spent in and out of social service and psychiatric care, recurrent drug usage, prostitution out of sheer desperation, plus several suicide attempts are told with unflinching honesty that perhaps could be conveyed only by an author that young. The abuse and humiliation she suffers, similar to that portrayed in Fresh Girls and Other Stories (LJ 2/95), is often difficult to digest. While the self-absorption of a depressed 14-year-old with adolescent ideas of grandiosity does get slightly repetitive, Lau's fervent devotion to her writing (throughout her ordeals she continued to keep her journal) and her naked desire to be loved strikes the reader with a touching poignancy. Recommended, especially for women's studies collections.
Marcie S. Zwaik, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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