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Finnish Beginnings is a memoir about the author's childhood in Finland. But it is much more than that. It is about her working class family and how they coped through four wars. It is about Finnish history and culture, told through the eyes of the author as a child, describing how the family was impacted by contemporary political and historical events. The father fought in three wars, and the author and her sister became part of one of the largest child evacuations in Europe. The last four chapters develop into an immigration story in which the family leaves Finland for Vancouver, BC, Canada in 1951, only to end up languishing in the dismal Immigration Building, described by Canadian author Pierre Berton as "the home of hope and heartbreak". In the case of the author and her family, hope triumphs over heartbreak as they build a new life in Canada.
About the Author
Rauni Ollikainen spent her early childhood in Finland and immigrated to Canada with her family at age eight. She grew up on Vancouver Island, moved to California as a young adult where she attended college, then travelled back to Finland for a lengthy stay, getting in touch with her original roots. From there, she moved to London, UK, where she lived and worked for a few years. She returned to Canada settling down in Victoria B.C. where she graduated from University of Victoria, worked for the Provincial Government, and was an active member of Victoria Theatre Guild for fifteen years. She has written book reviews for the ALS Society Victoria Chapter newsletter and has had short stories published in local magazines.