Taiwan in the 1980's is gradually opening up after decades of authoritarian rule. An atmosphere of hope permeates the country as manufacturing and small and medium-sized businesses flourish, and big ideas like freedom and democracy become mainstream.
Though elementary school student Lin Shu-chi is growing up on a Taipei street called Happiness Road, she doesn't consider herself particularly happy. The Barbie doll she received on her birthday is nothing like she imagined, the goose she raised on her own was almost cooked and eaten by her family, and she stumbled during her school dance performance, ruining her dreams of becoming a star. In fact, her troubles are so many they seem beyond counting. Yet, precisely because of these everyday struggles, her childhood is transformed into a stream of touching memories that will last a lifetime.
In these two volumes of six stories each, readers will make the acquaintance of a variety of vivid characters: Lin Shu-chi's magical grandmother, who remembers the old ways of the Amis aboriginal group, a local mixed-race girl with natural curls, a boy who is forced to leave school to learn to become the caretaker of a temple....
The stories gain an additional layer of depth from background details that conjure atmosphere of the era as well as its controversies, from racial discrimination to political power struggles. Simple line drawings by artist Lo He imbue the story with childlike warmth and energy, perfectly matching the tone of writer Sung Hsin-yi's work. Readers will be transported straight to Happiness Road, where they can experience everyday tragedies and wonders side-by-side with strong-willed, bumbling, and eternally day-dreaming Lin Shu-chi.