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An extraordinary memoir of one woman’s fight to find her true self between the life into which she was born and the one she was given. Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she a An extraordinary memoir of one woman’s fight to find her true self between the life into which she was born and the one she was given. Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. When one door closed on the only life Christiana had ever known and on the woman who protected her with all her heart, a new one opened.As Christina Rickardsson, she’s raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden, far from the despairing favelas of her childhood. Accomplished and outwardly “normal,” Christina is also filled with rage over what she’s lost and having to adapt to a new reality while struggling with the traumas of her youth. When her world falls apart again as an adult, Christina returns to Brazil to finally confront her past and unlock the truth of what really happened to Christiana Mara Coelho.A memoir of two selves, Never Stop Walking is the moving story of the profound love between families and one woman’s journey from grief and loss to survival and self-discovery.


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An extraordinary memoir of one woman’s fight to find her true self between the life into which she was born and the one she was given. Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she a An extraordinary memoir of one woman’s fight to find her true self between the life into which she was born and the one she was given. Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. When one door closed on the only life Christiana had ever known and on the woman who protected her with all her heart, a new one opened.As Christina Rickardsson, she’s raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden, far from the despairing favelas of her childhood. Accomplished and outwardly “normal,” Christina is also filled with rage over what she’s lost and having to adapt to a new reality while struggling with the traumas of her youth. When her world falls apart again as an adult, Christina returns to Brazil to finally confront her past and unlock the truth of what really happened to Christiana Mara Coelho.A memoir of two selves, Never Stop Walking is the moving story of the profound love between families and one woman’s journey from grief and loss to survival and self-discovery.

30 review for Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Goth Gone Grey

    Life is fickle. Honest, emotional, compelling. Perhaps for the first chapter, I didn't get into the flow of this book. The writing seemed stilted, unemotional, cold descriptions of a child's memories. Then, suddenly, I tumbled into the author's world headlong, completely engrossed and not wanting to put the book down. The narrative shifts among time, place, and mood beautifully. It shows the determination to survive as a street kid in Brazil, and the culture shock of a sudden uprooting to a new Life is fickle. Honest, emotional, compelling. Perhaps for the first chapter, I didn't get into the flow of this book. The writing seemed stilted, unemotional, cold descriptions of a child's memories. Then, suddenly, I tumbled into the author's world headlong, completely engrossed and not wanting to put the book down. The narrative shifts among time, place, and mood beautifully. It shows the determination to survive as a street kid in Brazil, and the culture shock of a sudden uprooting to a new family and new home in Sweden. The book is rich with life's moments that resonate worldwide: poverty, wealth, abuse, kindness, violence, tenderness, death, life, despair, and hope. The recurring theme of mothering and the strength of friends was both touching and hauntingly sad in turns. The tale the author tells us not an easy one. She lays herself bare, sharing even the most horrific moments and nightmares of her life, and the (quite literally) soaring heights as well. Were this an American memoir, it would include references to PTSD and therapy to cope - understandable, and no shame in either. Here the author finds her own techniques, including using her experiences to help others. Kudos to her for sharing her tale and using it for positive change. I will be rereading this, as I'm sure my rapid fire swiping reading to find out what would happen next caused me to miss some of the richness and elegance of the text. The translator also deserves mention - were it not for names I'm unused to reading, I would have thought I was reading it in the language it was written in. Nicely done.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joy D

    Non-fiction memoir, translated from Swedish, about the author’s journey to discover her past. Christina Rickardsson was born Christiana Coelho in Brazil. She lived in caves with her mother, and barely survived on the streets of São Paulo, before being admitted to an orphanage, where she was adopted at age eight by a Swedish couple. This is a dual story of the author’s tragic childhood experiences in Brazil, and her journey from Sweden to Brazil as an adult to connect with her cultural heritage a Non-fiction memoir, translated from Swedish, about the author’s journey to discover her past. Christina Rickardsson was born Christiana Coelho in Brazil. She lived in caves with her mother, and barely survived on the streets of São Paulo, before being admitted to an orphanage, where she was adopted at age eight by a Swedish couple. This is a dual story of the author’s tragic childhood experiences in Brazil, and her journey from Sweden to Brazil as an adult to connect with her cultural heritage and biological family. I think the book is worth reading for a first-hand account of a life most of us cannot imagine, along with insight into the resulting psychological damage. She comes across as candid and still suffering. It’s amazing to me how she recalls so much of her life before age eight. While I applaud the author for calling attention to the traumatic plight of children in poverty, she is not a particularly accomplished writer. The writing is passable, though a bit choppy and very simplistic in style. The memoir was most effective for me when focused on healing and understanding, and what it means to have dual cultural identities.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Harry

    What a tragic book! It is not only tragic because a little girl had to grow up living in caves and the Brazilian favela (slum) and being desperate enough to kill for half-eaten food that was thrown in the garbage. It is also tragic that the experience left Christina so emotionally scarred that she couldn't accept love in her new home in Sweden. When it comes to Mamae in Brazil vs. Mama in Sweden, the former wins hands down even though Mamae was mentally ill and could not provide the necessities o What a tragic book! It is not only tragic because a little girl had to grow up living in caves and the Brazilian favela (slum) and being desperate enough to kill for half-eaten food that was thrown in the garbage. It is also tragic that the experience left Christina so emotionally scarred that she couldn't accept love in her new home in Sweden. When it comes to Mamae in Brazil vs. Mama in Sweden, the former wins hands down even though Mamae was mentally ill and could not provide the necessities of life. Till Lili-ann's dying day, Christina could never tell her adoptive mother that she loved her. Her adoptive father, Sture, is barely mentioned. I feel bad for the adoptive parents; they certainly did not get what they bargained for. The author glosses over the fact that she seems ungrateful to be adopted and lead a "normal" life in Sweden. The adoption saved her from a life of extreme destitution, malnourishment, disease, violence, glue sniffing and the strong possibility of death - just like her father, her brother and several of her acquaintances. Unlike millions of other "street rats," Christina was lucky enough to be whisked away to the other side of the globe where none of these problems exist. Yet all she does is moan about the fact that she didn't understand why she and Mamae may never see eachother again. I might accept these feelings in a 7 year old, but when they are still percolating in a 30-something adult, something is wrong. The subtitle, "A Memoir of Finding a Home Across the World," says it all. The book is about Christina's quest of finding her biological family in Brazil. Yet tragically she could never find a home across the world in Sweden. The book is not especially well written (or translated), and it gets rather preachy toward the end. I am amazed by all the 5 star reviews this book received.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    Disturbed Can I be the only reader who is deeply disturbed by the fact that the author murdered another child and did not address this further in her book? I see that it was a dire, disturbing, unfathomable life she was living and perhaps she didn’t fully grasp what she had done at the time. However, now 25 years older, she spends endless pages of this book on self reflection, yet her stabbing an 8-year-old to death barely fills a handful of pages and is never mentioned again. I find this lack o Disturbed Can I be the only reader who is deeply disturbed by the fact that the author murdered another child and did not address this further in her book? I see that it was a dire, disturbing, unfathomable life she was living and perhaps she didn’t fully grasp what she had done at the time. However, now 25 years older, she spends endless pages of this book on self reflection, yet her stabbing an 8-year-old to death barely fills a handful of pages and is never mentioned again. I find this lack of reflection incomprehensible and it ruined any feelings I may have had for her or her story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Steeden

    Born in the woods and brought up in the caves of Brazil. This is poverty at its rawest. Christina Rickardsson (her Swedish name) tells the story about her upbringing and the quest to find her biological mother, Petronilia Maria Coelho, who put her up for adoption when she was 7 years old and has not seen for 24 years. A Swedish couple adopted her when she was 8. The book flits from memories of her young life on the streets and in the orphanage in Brazil to her flying back from Sweden 24 years lat Born in the woods and brought up in the caves of Brazil. This is poverty at its rawest. Christina Rickardsson (her Swedish name) tells the story about her upbringing and the quest to find her biological mother, Petronilia Maria Coelho, who put her up for adoption when she was 7 years old and has not seen for 24 years. A Swedish couple adopted her when she was 8. The book flits from memories of her young life on the streets and in the orphanage in Brazil to her flying back from Sweden 24 years later. Some memories from her time in Brazil are appalling. Once again, the way disgusting men take advantage of vulnerable adults and children makes me sick. Some of the stories are repulsive. What right do men think they have to rape/sexually abuse women and children when they want? I have read many books where men around the world act in this same way. There is also one very disturbing story that the author has had to come to terms with. Survival of the fittest was never truer especially in the favelas of Brazil. The harsh environment on the streets transpires to the orphanage also. I had to keep reminding myself that she was only seven years old when she was in the orphanage. The behaviour was that of more 15 / 16 year old girls. Christina gets through it of course. How has all of this affected her? Will she find her biological mother? Christina goes over how countries / governments deal or, in the case of Brazil, do not deal with mental illness and extreme poverty. She also goes over the very current plight of refugees from war torn countries. I read the Kindle version which did not have any photos. Here is Christina’s Instagram page that she mentioned in the book: https://www.instagram.com/christina_r...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Urenna Sander

    Brazilian-Swede, Christina Ricardsson, née Christiana Coelho lives in Umea, Sweden. At eight years-old, she and her twenty-two month old brother, Patrick, who was known as Patrique Jose Coelho, were adopted by a loving Swedish couple, Lili-ann and Sture Ricardsson. Christina remembers she spent most of her time on the streets of Sao Paulo, often without her mother. As a toddler, Patrick’s only memory is sleeping in a box. With a friend, Christina begins searching for her biological mother in Bra Brazilian-Swede, Christina Ricardsson, née Christiana Coelho lives in Umea, Sweden. At eight years-old, she and her twenty-two month old brother, Patrick, who was known as Patrique Jose Coelho, were adopted by a loving Swedish couple, Lili-ann and Sture Ricardsson. Christina remembers she spent most of her time on the streets of Sao Paulo, often without her mother. As a toddler, Patrick’s only memory is sleeping in a box. With a friend, Christina begins searching for her biological mother in Brazil. In the adoption records Christina discovered her mother, Petronilia, is listed as abusive. However, she remembers her mother as a warm and loving caregiver. She does not remember stating “I do not want to live like this.” She worried that her biological mother could have been told this. Christina realized there is a difference between choosing not to take care of your children and living in a society that does not give its citizens resources so they can take care of them. This is a memoir, often sad and disheartening. Young, abandoned children are exploited and murdered. But the beauty and purity of Christina’s love and loyalty for her parent, sibling and friends is vivid and heartfelt. It overpowers the favelas, laden with crime and violence. Yet there are empathetic, warmhearted people too, living in surroundings on the fringes of an unkind, uncaring, and unjust society. I believe Christina and Patrick’s blessing was to experience a better life. Four stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I adored this book, slept next to it until I'd finished it. It starts heartbreakingly but ends in triumph and sweetness. I'd give it 10 stars if I could. I adored this book, slept next to it until I'd finished it. It starts heartbreakingly but ends in triumph and sweetness. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Living in Sweden and remembering nothing of her native language Portugese that she spoke until she was adopted at the age of eight, Christina Rickardsson is now 32-years-old and is about to embark on her first trip back to the country of her birth to reconnect with elements of that initial period in her life, that she vividly recalls. Recurring nightmares of her childhood awaken something in her sub-conscious, creating an emotional/ spiritual that she decides to address by revisiting the locatio Living in Sweden and remembering nothing of her native language Portugese that she spoke until she was adopted at the age of eight, Christina Rickardsson is now 32-years-old and is about to embark on her first trip back to the country of her birth to reconnect with elements of that initial period in her life, that she vividly recalls. Recurring nightmares of her childhood awaken something in her sub-conscious, creating an emotional/ spiritual that she decides to address by revisiting the location of her childhood. I watched my eyes fill with tears as I realized that the little girl who had run for her life had just kept on running. I needed to stop running and once and for all, for my own sake, process what had happened. A dual narrative flips between the present as she returns to Sao Paulo with her friend Rivia, who will act as her translator and the past where she shares the vivid memories and equally strong emotions of her early childhood years. She reviews the adoption papers that have been locked in a safe for the past 24 years. I've never felt the need to find out who I am, where I come from, or why I was abandoned. I know who I am, where I come from; most of all I know that I wasn't abandoned. Kidnapping might be too strong a word to use for how our adoption transpired, but sometimes that what it felt like. Some of the things she reads disturb her because they don't ring true, she retains strong and tender feelings of love towards her biological mother and recalls their trauma of their separation but has never understood why. Her story is written in a desire to restore her mother's name and tell their truth as she remembers it, to fill in the gaps in her knowledge and find out if her mother is still alive. Her story begins with memories of living in a forest cave in the Brazilian wilderness with her mother, of surviving on the streets of Sao Paulo and her time in an orphanage before she and her almost 2-year-old brother are adopted by a Swedish couple and begin a new life there. She recalls her friendships with other children when they live in the streets, special moments, terrifying incidents and the strong emotions they evoke are equally remembered, her instinct for self-preservation is strong and her reactions to things spill over into her new life in Sweden, where they are often deemed inappropriate. On some level, I began to understand that people, especially grown-ups,weren't interested in the truth but rather in a truth that suited them. They only wanted to know about things that made stuff easier for them. It didn't matter that I was walling off part of myself, that I was turning into someone else. The relationship she remembers with her mother from childhood is tender, the bond strong, she defends it, and holds tight to the memories. There is a respectful appreciation for her Swedish family and clearly a difference between her feelings and those of her brother, who recalls little of his life in Brazil before their adoption. We have completely different relationships with out biological mother. Unlike me, Patrick doesn't have any memories of her. For him, she's the woman who gave birth to him and couldn't take care of him. There's an undercurrent of sadness in this accomplished memoir, of a woman who is neither one thing nor the other, who can never let got of who she is, but must continue to live as that whom she has become. I felt so much rage growing up that it frightened me. It filled me and destroyed me. I felt it, but I didn't know how to handle it, so I smiled and laughed even more and did well in school...I had walled off my true self. She finds a way to navigate the two selves by turning the focus outward, towards helping others, addressing the ache of having had to suppress her true self for so long. She shares one of the more troubling stories of her childhood in a 15 minute TED Talk linked below and the inspiration behind the words in the title, Never Stop Walking. Christina's TEDTalk 'The Lottery of Life'

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    The true story of Christina spending part of her childhood in the slums of Brazil is both fascinating and sad. I believe her story shed light on the "street kids" of Brazil and how they were abused and murdered by the adults around them. Why did I give this book only 2 stars? For a few reasons... 1. The small, tiny reason (actually not much of a reason at all tbh) is the fact that there were no photos of her return to Brazil even after she mentioned having a lot of photos. This wouldn't be so bad The true story of Christina spending part of her childhood in the slums of Brazil is both fascinating and sad. I believe her story shed light on the "street kids" of Brazil and how they were abused and murdered by the adults around them. Why did I give this book only 2 stars? For a few reasons... 1. The small, tiny reason (actually not much of a reason at all tbh) is the fact that there were no photos of her return to Brazil even after she mentioned having a lot of photos. This wouldn't be so bad except you can Google her and find a few of them attached to articles about the book. Not sure of those photos can be seen in the physical hardcover or softcover but the Kindle version does not have any which is a shame. That would've been a great addition to this book. 2. The main reason I only gave this book 2 stars is because after she tells the story of her childhood both in Brazil and in Sweden the book devolves into nothing but preaching. The Afterword was even worse! I had to skip over most of it. I don't mind hearing the author's views on society, privilege, ect but we didn't need paragraphs of it. The story was already dotted with those thoughts so dedicating much of the last few dozen or so pages to it was ridiculous. 3. She glossed over her brother Patrick's story. Of course he is named several times throughout the book so we're very aware of his existence but it was only in the context of her looking out for him. We only hear that he was to visit his mom a "few days" after Christina visited but we don't get to know how that meeting went after all of those years of being apart. We never hear his voice or get his opinion of anything aside from that brief phone call she had to him after she arrived in Brazil. 4. This may have been an oversight with the translation but she stated towards the end that one of her brothers died and the other is missing when in fact 2 are missing. So, she has two older brothers (1 died and 1 no one in her family knows his whereabouts), she has Patrick with which she has a relationship with, but she also has a younger brother whom she never met who was adopted out and again no one in her family knows where he is. So the statement she made about 1 being dead and 1 being missing is incorrect based on her own telling earlier on. 5. She glossed over her adoptive parents. We barely learned anything about them at all. The very parents who actually took care of her and loved her for more years than she lived with her bio-mom. Of course she loves all of her parents, adopted and bio, but I found she only focused on her adopted mom more than the adopted dad and even that was only second to her real mom whom lost her due to her mental illness and poverty. Bottom line, having a chapter giving us some more insight into her adopted parents would have been nice. 6. She told us the very disturbing story of her murdering another child while in the slums of Brazil. This story was told in a "not-my-fault-blame-my-living-conditions" sort of way which rubbed me the wrong way. She did mention a few times throughout the book, the remorse she feels about it but it almost feels as if she's handling it like a witness to the crime and not the person who actually did the crime, if you get what I mean. It could be that she hasn't addressed this in therapy and her way of dealing with it is to take the view of a bystander/witness rather than the killer. I understand she was only a child but her point-of-view and way she describes this act in the book seems a bit cold and as I said, someone recounting a scene they witnessed rather than something they actually did themselves. Hope she's getting counseling about this as that's a big deal. Overall, the story of her childhood, especially focused on her time as a "street kid" in the slums was very eye-opening for me as I had never heard this was a thing (I'm about her age) until now and it breaks my heart. I wish the preaching of how people who live in First World countries should live, think, and feel wasn't so prevalent in this book. We get the message and most of us can understand but it doesn't need to be preached to us ad nauseum. What I wish this book was like: I really wish her story was more focused on what is being done now about the lives of the poor in Brazil and what we can do as "First Worlders" to help fix this (without the preaching, please). Maybe that's not the book she intended. Of course, maybe this was simply a memoir and nothing more and if that's the case than remove the preaching and save it for another book about social justice instead. I do wish though, that she write another book focusing on the "street kids" with some stories and anecdotes. The book could contain the history of how "street kids" came to be, how it looks for them in the present time, and what could be done to make it better and/or prevent it in the future. That would be a book I'd read and would spread awareness about this more than her "memoir" did.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    37 highlights in this book. That must be a record for me. Got this one through Kindle First, mostly because the thrillers sounded lame. I’m so glad I did, it is a gem among the rough. This memoir is heartbreaking. What Christina/Christiana went through is a life no child or adult should ever endure and yet they continue to today. But her optimism and strength shines through, while being critical to the authority figures in her life at that time. She is so honest seeming throughout. It’s humble a 37 highlights in this book. That must be a record for me. Got this one through Kindle First, mostly because the thrillers sounded lame. I’m so glad I did, it is a gem among the rough. This memoir is heartbreaking. What Christina/Christiana went through is a life no child or adult should ever endure and yet they continue to today. But her optimism and strength shines through, while being critical to the authority figures in her life at that time. She is so honest seeming throughout. It’s humble and sincere. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone :) beware of crying.

  11. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    Rickardsson writes openly about her early life cave dwelling with her mamãe, and what she endured as a street kid in São Paulo, Brazil, where fighting, rape, and murder were prevalent. There’s some difficult-to-read, very brutal shit here. At 8ish, after being adopted by a Swedish family, she struggled to adjust and understand her circumstances. Alternating timelines between Brazil and Sweden ultimately lead to her return “home.” Well-written and beautifully translated.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Greta Samuelson

    How do some humans endure so much pain and danger ? I cannot even begin to imagine children living at the levels of poverty they do in our world. Christina Rickardsson is doing great things- read her story - like her FB page for her foundation; The Coelho Growth Foundation. Go forth and be a better human for our world

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Leigh

    An inspiring story!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)

    What a great memoir. I thought Christina’s story was so incredibly moving. It took a chapter or two to get into it, but once I did, I was completely captivated. She did such a great job of showing the horrific poverty she endured while showing how much her mother loved her. The book bounced between chapters from her past and chapters in the present, dealing with the search for her mother. I felt so bad for her and the trauma surrounding her adoption and I could understand why it took her so long What a great memoir. I thought Christina’s story was so incredibly moving. It took a chapter or two to get into it, but once I did, I was completely captivated. She did such a great job of showing the horrific poverty she endured while showing how much her mother loved her. The book bounced between chapters from her past and chapters in the present, dealing with the search for her mother. I felt so bad for her and the trauma surrounding her adoption and I could understand why it took her so long to adapt to her adoptive parents. So glad I took the chance and read this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Prussman

    This true story gives us a real glimpse into two different worlds: that of an impoverished child living in a cave and then on the streets in a Brazilian ghetto, and the other in a well-to-do village in Northern Sweden. I don't think any travel would give us a more accurate idea of what real life is like for such unfortunate children. The author writes her story by alternating the periods in her life. One chapter takes place in her childhood in Brazil, and the next one takes place with her adopte This true story gives us a real glimpse into two different worlds: that of an impoverished child living in a cave and then on the streets in a Brazilian ghetto, and the other in a well-to-do village in Northern Sweden. I don't think any travel would give us a more accurate idea of what real life is like for such unfortunate children. The author writes her story by alternating the periods in her life. One chapter takes place in her childhood in Brazil, and the next one takes place with her adopted family in Sweden. This alternating does not make it difficult to comprehend, in actuality, the alternating helps us really feel the culture shock she went through. I loved this story, but I cried through much of it. Kudos also to the translator, because this book never feels as if it were written in any language other than English. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to open their mind to the realities of growing up poor. While the U.S. does have a limited amount of social safety nets, I believe poverty-stricken families in this country are not so far removed from the hardships faced by the impoverished of Brazil.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    A truly amazing story, but unfortunately I don’t think the author pulled me into it the way she could have. I couldn’t generate the amount of empathy she deserves. Maybe it was lost in translation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    An incredibly honest memoir and interestingly told going back and forth between Christina as a child in Brazil (where her name was Christiana) and as an adult Christina going back to Brazil from Sweden to try to find her birth family. One can't read this memoir without feeling deeply for the author. I do wish a bit more was written about how she came to integrate her Brazil and Swedish selves after her trip to Brazil. But I can also understand why that wasn't written. An incredibly honest memoir and interestingly told going back and forth between Christina as a child in Brazil (where her name was Christiana) and as an adult Christina going back to Brazil from Sweden to try to find her birth family. One can't read this memoir without feeling deeply for the author. I do wish a bit more was written about how she came to integrate her Brazil and Swedish selves after her trip to Brazil. But I can also understand why that wasn't written.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandi Dickenson

    Provoking read This Amazon selection was well worth my time. Outstanding translation. Written in the first person, the author made me feel I was with her in the isolated cave and the crowed inner city streets. This is a straightforward, raw and honest recollection of what she endured in her childhood and how it influenced what she now does as an adult. She's a professional speaker who brings awareness of and solutions to children living in poverty. Not the welfare-food stamps of industrial societ Provoking read This Amazon selection was well worth my time. Outstanding translation. Written in the first person, the author made me feel I was with her in the isolated cave and the crowed inner city streets. This is a straightforward, raw and honest recollection of what she endured in her childhood and how it influenced what she now does as an adult. She's a professional speaker who brings awareness of and solutions to children living in poverty. Not the welfare-food stamps of industrial societies, but of those countries with no safety nets. Where children fend for themselves until they are old enough to be used for another purpose- menial labor or worse. Her hope is to bring them an opportunity to become loving adults. She learns at a young age that good people do bad things to survive and that being forced into survival mode is justification for wrongdoing. I can't help compare that to the TV show Survior where it is OK for people to lie, steal and deceive in order to be the only Survivor (an awarded title). We recognize that when the TV show ends, the person does not live life that way in the real world because underneath it all they are "good". It is only the experience of surviving that leads to justified wrongdoing. Christiana makes us think of the why. Why, when bad people do those same bad things is it judged differently? When the only purpose of a crime is to inflict pain and suffering? Before this, I was reading a Holocaust survivor book. It also portrayed situations where good people doing bad things were justified while those doing bad things for the sake of cruelty where not justified. Can a society intervention help? Should we intervene? When? Do we have an obligation to help children even when it means prying them away from the arms of their beloved parent? At least one critic points out that Brazil of the 1980's no longer exists. That social programs are now the norm. I think though, the greater issue is that this scenerio will always exist somewhere. We have pockets of children living in this type of poverty somewhere. Does it really matter how prolonged and how extreme the poverty is? Don't we adults have an obligation to help these children?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Carlson

    The book is a little scattered because the author is working through her identity issues and guilt as she writes. I was fascinated with her process. She built up suspense leading to her reunion with her mother. I thought the contradictions in her personality were interesting, proving her point that she was split between her Swedish self and her Brazilian self. Yes, she did ask a lot of questions, and I found them annoying after awhile. While my life is unlike the author's, I find that I have mad The book is a little scattered because the author is working through her identity issues and guilt as she writes. I was fascinated with her process. She built up suspense leading to her reunion with her mother. I thought the contradictions in her personality were interesting, proving her point that she was split between her Swedish self and her Brazilian self. Yes, she did ask a lot of questions, and I found them annoying after awhile. While my life is unlike the author's, I find that I have made many of the same realizations about life and about society. I applaud the author for her courage to write so boldly and truthfully.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andy Roberts

    Amazing book detailing a young girls' life starting from forest caves outside Sao Paulo and then onto the city streets. It describes the horrific moments in a favela where murders , drug taking , robbery , police corruption and children sniffing glue to stave off starvation is common and yet extreme poverty does not prevent love. She escapes by getting adopted and moving to the more luxurious Sweden but her thoughts do not leave the slums back in Brazil. This book is available on Amazon Prime Rea Amazing book detailing a young girls' life starting from forest caves outside Sao Paulo and then onto the city streets. It describes the horrific moments in a favela where murders , drug taking , robbery , police corruption and children sniffing glue to stave off starvation is common and yet extreme poverty does not prevent love. She escapes by getting adopted and moving to the more luxurious Sweden but her thoughts do not leave the slums back in Brazil. This book is available on Amazon Prime Reading at the moment as one of the free books to download. I really recommend it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meg Leader

    I got this book through Amazon Prime First, or whatever the program is called. I'll admit, it was the best option for me of the six that were offered, but wasn't something I would have gone looking for. That said, I found myself curious enough about the book to pick it right up to read and I found it fascinating. Christina does a wonderful job building a picture of her life in Brazil and giving enough of her current life details to get an understanding of her motivations. My only criticism is th I got this book through Amazon Prime First, or whatever the program is called. I'll admit, it was the best option for me of the six that were offered, but wasn't something I would have gone looking for. That said, I found myself curious enough about the book to pick it right up to read and I found it fascinating. Christina does a wonderful job building a picture of her life in Brazil and giving enough of her current life details to get an understanding of her motivations. My only criticism is the number of unanswered questions I finished the book with.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tifani

    This is a very interesting book that made me revisit my opinions of poverty. Her story of her upbringing in Brazil as compared to her adoption to Sweden is heartbreaking and sweet, and definitely highlights deficiencies in a broken system. I am glad I read it, and I recommend. However, the book does have deficiencies. The quality of writing is not great. While the story is good, there are inconsistencies, facts that are omitted from the story, which are brought out later, and some confusing time This is a very interesting book that made me revisit my opinions of poverty. Her story of her upbringing in Brazil as compared to her adoption to Sweden is heartbreaking and sweet, and definitely highlights deficiencies in a broken system. I am glad I read it, and I recommend. However, the book does have deficiencies. The quality of writing is not great. While the story is good, there are inconsistencies, facts that are omitted from the story, which are brought out later, and some confusing timelines. These may be the result of the translation to English, I am not sure. There is also a lot of repetition and the sentence "I had so many emotions flowing through me" is repeated so many times it loses meaning. A bit of editing could have helped. The story focuses on her relationship with her Brazilian birth mother and her adoptive Swedish mother, and highlights her broken ability to love. However, she barely mentions her adoptive father, who I don't know anything about after reading this book, and doesn't give any perspective of her brother, who was adopted with her from Brazil to Sweden. These would have been interesting, and seems an odd omission. The end gets a little preachy, and tries to tell the reader the lesson they should be learning from this book. I do recommend reading, but be sure to forgive some of blunders and instead focus on what can be learned.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Brace yourself, because this book can do things to your heart and mind. The author, Christina Rickardsson, was born in a small village in Brazil. She, her baby brother Patrick, and her mother were desperately poor and lived in a cave, in the slums, or on the streets. They begged for food, often Christina stole food, or scavenged it from dumpsters. When Christina is 7, her mother takes her baby brother to what she thought was a hospital and leaves him there to be cared for. Shortly after, she als Brace yourself, because this book can do things to your heart and mind. The author, Christina Rickardsson, was born in a small village in Brazil. She, her baby brother Patrick, and her mother were desperately poor and lived in a cave, in the slums, or on the streets. They begged for food, often Christina stole food, or scavenged it from dumpsters. When Christina is 7, her mother takes her baby brother to what she thought was a hospital and leaves him there to be cared for. Shortly after, she also takes Christina there. The children have beds, showers, and consistent food and medical care, but they are not staying at a hospital. Their mother has taken them to an orphanage. One year later the courts terminated parental rights and Christina and Patrick were adopted by a Swedish couple and traveled to Sweden where they began a new life. Christina was despairingly sad and missed her mother. She struggled to fit into her new role in life. Twenty four years later she returns to Brazil to visit the orphanage and to try to find her biological mother. Travel with Christina as she retells the story of her life and tries to reconnect with the people in her past. It will tear at your heart.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mobeme53 Branson

    As a child Christiana/Christine lived in the jungle and on the streets of Brazil. The life she lived there is horrific and shocking. The level of violence she endured is unimaginable to me. At 8, she is adopted to a loving family in Sweden. Although this turns out to be a good thing, the way she and her brother are taken away from her mother is disturbing and heartbreaking. The second half of the book is devoted to her trip back to Brazil and her reuniting with her mother. Even this chapter of h As a child Christiana/Christine lived in the jungle and on the streets of Brazil. The life she lived there is horrific and shocking. The level of violence she endured is unimaginable to me. At 8, she is adopted to a loving family in Sweden. Although this turns out to be a good thing, the way she and her brother are taken away from her mother is disturbing and heartbreaking. The second half of the book is devoted to her trip back to Brazil and her reuniting with her mother. Even this chapter of her life is filled with sadness albeit mixed with joy. I would have liked a little more insight into her relationship with her adoptive father and brother; however, that is nitpicking. This should be required reading for young adults to get a perspective on life outside of this country and would make a terrific selection for a book club.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lee Kulas

    (Category: Nonfiction) This book took me by surprise, it was really, really good. It was much like Lion, which I really loved. The unimaginable things that happened in those slums, such stories this woman had...her strength is amazing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ira Therebel

    This book is a story of a child living on the streets in Brazil and her journey back as an adult after being adopted by Swedish parents at the age of 8. The story is amazing. I liked how it went between her childhood and present when she is going back. Her early childhood was very tough and she lived through a lot of tragedies before she even turned 8. Most people in the Western world won't face so much in their whole lives. Her journey back is also very interesting. I couldn't wait to find out i This book is a story of a child living on the streets in Brazil and her journey back as an adult after being adopted by Swedish parents at the age of 8. The story is amazing. I liked how it went between her childhood and present when she is going back. Her early childhood was very tough and she lived through a lot of tragedies before she even turned 8. Most people in the Western world won't face so much in their whole lives. Her journey back is also very interesting. I couldn't wait to find out if she will find her Mamae and what she will find out about her life. It is written so well. I am surprised she remembers so much although when it comes to the terrifying events they are probably embedded in one's memory forever. Yet she still manages to add some happy memories although they aren't so detailed which kind of supports my guess that the memories she described in so much detail stayed with her because they were tragic. It is weird that she didn't add any happy memories from her life Sweden. Now those were in her older childhood which makes it easier to remember. She even managed to show contrast of her life in favela and yet her life in Sweden just seems depressing. The part of her in Brazil is much better as they make one almost see it through her eyes, great language and translation. Won't mention anything that happened there because I am sure it hits one even harder if one doesn't expect it. I don't really like her as a person. This has no impact on my rating because I think the book was great and it doesn't matter who the author is. She seems to belittle any issues people outside of Brazil have. Of course they are absolutely trivial compared to the poverty in Brazil and I myself roll my eyes at "oppressed" people of the first world (yet she seems to have picked it up from what I can see on her Instagram that I visited to see the pictures from her journey to Brazil, but I guess it is the experience as a child afraid of the police and seeing them doing very brutal and inexcusable things that made her join the SJW movement against them here ). Yet how can one talk to her if she will put you down for your unimportant problems. And wasn't the first issue she had when arriving in Sweden disappointment that she won't have a princess bed that "only white girls will have"? Regardless of the fact that I would dislike her she is definitely a survivor that managed to keep on living and stay strong which is admirable. Surprising that her dad is absolutely avoided in the book. I hope they have a good relationship otherwise I feel very bad for him. Maybe she only has happy memories involving him because as I said she only wrote about bad things in Sweden. And now a minor non issue but I wonder why she got her name changed when moving to Sweden? I know that people often do it when their names are too foreign and complicated but in her case it is such a minor difference and there are Christianas in Europe. Of course it isn't important and their business but it made me curious.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    What an incredible story about the resilience of a young woman who grew up in the most unimaginable circumstances! I love how Christiana was honest about what she could recall and what stuck with her the most in her early life. She grew up in a struggle that most of her readers will never know (thank God), but she also grew up with the love and protection of her mother. I'm sure her mother lead her into some precarious situations with her mental illness, but Christina mostly only recalls the deep What an incredible story about the resilience of a young woman who grew up in the most unimaginable circumstances! I love how Christiana was honest about what she could recall and what stuck with her the most in her early life. She grew up in a struggle that most of her readers will never know (thank God), but she also grew up with the love and protection of her mother. I'm sure her mother lead her into some precarious situations with her mental illness, but Christina mostly only recalls the deep love and connection she has with her mother. I think that is so beautiful. In a world where parents try to give their children material things, opportunities and experiences... most of the time all a child needs is the love and attention of their parents. Christina knew she was poor, had to fight just to live, but she also had her mother there to guide her and teach her as a loving parent should. **SPOILER** I was so glad that Christina reunited with her mother after so many years. It was interesting how the connection and bond was almost like no time had past. I think that was my favorite part of the book. Both Christina and her mother experienced so much pain and loss. The two of them finally reconnecting was a nice reprieve from the struggles of their lives. I've read a couple reviews on how Christina didn't really address her killing the boy when he tried to take her food. She did and said that memory stays with her. It caused her a lot of anger, confusion and frustration throughout her teenage years as she was trying to figure out where she fit in when she had this overwhelming feeling of guilt. She still struggles with feeling worthy of love and accolades with that memory still tied to her. Her killing the boy was awful, but I feel like she is living her punishment. I don't think her readers should be so quick to judge as I am doubtful they would do much different in the same circumstance.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is a heartbreaking story of a child living in extreme poverty on the streets in Brazil.  The things that happen to her are horrific including witnessing the murder of her best friend by the police, seeing numerous rapes, and killing another child in a fight over food.  Because this all happened as a child she didn't clearly know or remember the reasons why they lived like they did.  All she knew was that her mother loved her and her little brother but that there were also times when she wa This is a heartbreaking story of a child living in extreme poverty on the streets in Brazil.  The things that happen to her are horrific including witnessing the murder of her best friend by the police, seeing numerous rapes, and killing another child in a fight over food.  Because this all happened as a child she didn't clearly know or remember the reasons why they lived like they did.  All she knew was that her mother loved her and her little brother but that there were also times when she wasn't around.  The children were taken to an orphanage where they were eventually not allowed to have contact with their mother and then were adopted by a couple from Sweden. Nothing that was going on was explained to her. As an adult she decides to go back to Brazil to try to find her mother and to find out what really happened to make sense of her childhood memories.  She examines the disconnect she feels about being grateful for her good life in Sweden that wouldn't have happened if she wasn't forcibly taken from her mother but also being angry about being separated from the person who loved her.  The book is very simply written or translated.  That makes it a very stark read.  It is very sad but I think it is necessary to know what is going on in the poorest parts of society.  Once again in reading this book I was struck by how often male sexual violence towards women and children is considered to be an everyday thing.  I hate knowing that there are women who have to submit to being raped because they are told that it is her or her child.  Books like this just make me want to have a moratorium on men for a while.This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

    This was a Kindle first book and in some ways, it's quite remarkable. The story about a young girl from the Brazilian favela who is adopted by a Swedish family is unusual (at least for me, an American reader). Kindle first books are often hit-or-miss, and this is no exception. What I liked: Through this story, I got to see and experience the favela and the caves as well as life in modern-day Sweden. I particularly enjoyed how the author describes her experiences as a child would see and understan This was a Kindle first book and in some ways, it's quite remarkable. The story about a young girl from the Brazilian favela who is adopted by a Swedish family is unusual (at least for me, an American reader). Kindle first books are often hit-or-miss, and this is no exception. What I liked: Through this story, I got to see and experience the favela and the caves as well as life in modern-day Sweden. I particularly enjoyed how the author describes her experiences as a child would see and understand them. Certain aspects an adult would care about (like hygiene) are not even noticed, since a child wouldn't care about them. Others, like games and candy and fights, are described in great detail. There's a lot little Christiana does not understand, and a lot no child should experience. I also give credit to the translator. I know nothing about Swedish, but the language in this book came across as perfectly colloquial American English. There were no glitches or stops; I had no need to work hard to follow what was being said. What I didn't like: There is a lot of repetition, and a lot of "I had so many emotions flowing through me"-type sentences. This book could do with a good bit of editing, something I've noticed in other Kindle first books. Still, I learned a lot and found parts of it very interesting. I hope Rickardsson will be able to follow her dream and find ways to help children like her.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside San Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. As Christina Rickardsson, she's raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden far away from the despair and poverty. Accomplished and outwardly "normal," Christina is also filled with rage over what she's lo Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside San Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. As Christina Rickardsson, she's raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden far away from the despair and poverty. Accomplished and outwardly "normal," Christina is also filled with rage over what she's lost and having to adapt to a new reality while struggling with the traumas of her youth. In her 30's , Christina returns to Brazil to finally confront her past and unlock the truth of what really happened to the girl she once was. This was an OK read for me and I think it is admirable that she started a fund to help those in need in Brazil. I'd like to know if she still returns to Brazil and a zillion other questions.

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