"The problem with being seven... is that you're aware of so much, and yet you understand so little. So you imagine the worst."
I'm not sure a child's i"The problem with being seven... is that you're aware of so much, and yet you understand so little. So you imagine the worst."
I'm not sure a child's imagination would come up with things that were worse than what happened in Cambodia, but this combination of awareness and innocence made the narrative voice really special. I loved her worldview and poetic language. Because the story is told through the eyes of a child without full understanding, we aren't presented with a constant stream of graphic atrocities. There is beauty and wonder to contrast with the fear and anticipation, and in a way, the tragedies hit me even harder because they felt personal. I really liked seeing the progression of Raami's relationships with her family, especially with her father and mother.
Then my heart broke even more when I got to the end and saw that Raami's story was based on the author's real life. Everything felt so authentic because it was based on actual experience.
I enjoyed this book even more because I read most of it as I was traveling around Vietnam and Cambodia, and the timing of some passages in the book would magically correlate with my travel experience. For example, I had met an old woman in Vietnam with black teeth right before I read about Raami's grandmother's teeth and the reason for them. ...more