After reading her story, it is no surprise to me that she is such a good writer on top of all of her other talents. Zhanna’s ability to paint a picture for her readers and to make her emotions become real is outstanding. She knows just what details to pick. Her memory is excellent—I cannot get over how many specific details from her childhood and on that she remembers so vividly. She presents the whole story so economically—including just what is essential and nothing extra. That makes her story so powerful.
Overall I was absolutely impressed with Zhanna’s writing talent, but, more than that, I was moved by her story. She is an inspiration! How did someone raised in such a place, in such a home, with so few role models for success or even for kindness rise up as someone with such ambition, such intelligence, such hope, and such a sense of love and justice? She has every right to be bitter and sad, and yet she emerges as someone who shows only mercy, optimism, and determination. Thank you so much, on behalf of your readers, for sharing your story. It truly is a journey of the human spirit. It will inspire so many people to keep pushing for what is right, keep dreaming despite their adversity, and keep working to better themselves every day. Your hard work, your honesty, your love makes you a heroine. I will remember your story.
Zhanna’s tone and style is so perfect for her story and so powerful in its simplicity. If someone tried to tell the same story in a more grandiose style or with a lot of description, the story would lose its power. She chose which details to include so well that we are shown the very essence of the meaning, of the people in her life, of the setting in which she lived, of the emotions she experienced. Very well done using such simple language—every word is so well chosen, and nothing extra distracts us.
Her honesty is remarkable. From sex to her complicated emotions about her father from her desire to be loved and to belong to her descriptions of her cold room, her honesty shines through. Her story would not be as full and textured without these many layers of her experiences, and she tells all these layers with such candor. Her readers will trust her, love her, feel for her, cry for her, and celebrate with her.