Inside Out and Back Again
1 journaler for this copy...
It's the story-in-poem-form of a young Vietnamese girl after she's forced to flee her country. It's very charming (and largely autobiographical), showing how young Ha spends her time in Saigon, hoping for news of her father (who was in the north when the country was divided), and fretting about her brothers ("I can't make my brothers/go live elsewhere,/but I can/hide their sandals."). She admits to a bit of selfishness as well, stinting on the family groceries so she can afford a few snacks for herself. But when the situation in Saigon becomes too dangerous, she and her family must flee, taking only what they can carry...
The story picks up in their new home in Alabama, where they go because they were sponsored by a local rancher. He seems kind enough, but the culture shock - plus the trauma of their flight from home - makes life difficult for the family. Young Ha doesn't deal well with being pointed out in school and teased for her name and appearance (this was at a time when most of the locals had never seen an Asian in person), but eventually she makes friends, starts learning the language (her grumbles about the illogical nature of English are amusing and all too true), and begins to find her feet in this strange land.
Frightening, funny, charming - a very good story. (I also enjoyed the interview with the author at the end.)
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
[See other recent releases in NH here.]