Monday, January 21, 2013

Inside Out and Back Again

Synopsis:  For all the ten years of her life, Ha has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by, and the beauty of her very own papaya tree. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Ha and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

Patrick's Review:  Ha is a ten year old girl living in South Vietnam. She planted a papaya seed and has watched it grow over the years. She loves the papaya fruit. Ha gets teased by her three older brothers. Her Ma is raising all four kids by herself and works two jobs to be able to feed her family. Her Dad has been captured by North Vietnam. Her country has been divided into South and North Vietnam. Ha and her family leave in the middle of the night on a Navy ship, to escape South Vietnam. The next day, North Vietnam takes over South Vietnam. 

After weeks at sea, they arrive in Guam. They only stay in Guam a few days and are sent to Alabama. The Cowboy sponsors Ha’s family. He hires her oldest brother Quang to work at his auto shop repairing cars in exchange for an apartment. Ha and her brothers Vu and Khoi must repeat the last grade they attended in Saigon. School is very hard for Ha as she doesn’t speak English and the kids are very mean to her. She doesn’t fit as her skin is not black or white, but is olive. She has different shaped eyes, straight hair that doesn’t hold curls and a flat face. 

Ha and her family stick together learn how to become a stronger family in Alabama. They get Baptized in Cowboy’s church, learn how to be grateful for food they don’t like, and learn how to speak English. Ha becomes friends with two other kids in school. Her brother Vu teaches her how to defend herself against the bully, “Pink boy.” Her brother Khoi takes her to school on his bike and picks her up at the end of each day. Her mother finds a job making clothes. Ma loses her purple marriage ring and Ha and her family realize that her Dad has died. They all agree that the next year will be better for them as they celebrate Tet, the Vietnam’s new year.

Meet the Author:  Thanhha Lai was born in Vietnam. At the end of the war, she fled with her family to Alabama. There, she learned English from fourth graders. She then spent the next decade correcting her grammar. Starting her writing life as journalist, she worked at The Orange County Register. She switched to fiction, leading to an MFA from New York University and short story publications in various journals and anthologies. Lai lives with her husband, daughter and a little white dog in New York City.  Thanhha Lai is an American writer of the children's literature. She won the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and a Newbery Honor for her debut novel, Inside Out and Back Again, published by HarperCollins.

You can connect with Tanhha at Goodreads.

Purchase It: You can purchase Inside Out and Back Again online from Amazon for $7.99.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard such great things about this book and I am very curious about it. The fact that it is written in verse is intriguing. I love the cover. Great review!


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