In his memoir, Chasing the Dream: Journey of a Poor Boy from Fiji, Mahesh P. Raj tells the story of rising from poverty in Fiji to achieving the success he imagined as a child.
Raj’s early life wasn’t easy. He weighed only four pounds and wasn’t expected to survive when born to an impoverished family in Fiji in 1947. At age 14, he had to quit school to help support his family. But whether working at a poultry farm or in the fields, he aimed for a better life and eventually left Fiji for Canada.
Raj always had a simple dream: to own a house; have a top-floor office with windows and a parking spot for his car; and be able to come and go without having to report to a boss. Working toward this goal, he took computer courses, won company-sponsored trips for top employees, and pursued real estate, life insurance and mutual funds licenses, eventually becoming a successful businessman.
Written in third person—an odd choice for a memoir—the narrative is presented in chronological order and consists of 94 chapters, most just a page or two. Some detail important aspects of the author’s life, such as his family’s poverty; others seem inconsequential, such as the chapter about when he noticed he was losing his hair.
Overall, the narrative suffers from technical issues: for example, Raj sometimes switches tenses in one sentence or writes in an ungrammatical manner: “The captain was watching him the whole time, Mahesh know his line is so close to propeller.” Readers may also be confused by the timeline. On several occasions, the author begins a passage with “After a few years . . . ” or something similar. Specific dates and years are rare, leaving readers to guess.
These issues impact the book’s appeal for general readers. Still, this is an admirable story of one man overcoming the odds—a tale the author’s family will no doubt treasure.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.