I did not finish this book because I simply didn't find it interesting. Others whom I know really enjoyed this book, so I don't think it is a bad bookI did not finish this book because I simply didn't find it interesting. Others whom I know really enjoyed this book, so I don't think it is a bad book, it just didn't succeed in catching or keeping my interest - I got over halfway thru it before deciding I didn't have the time to keep trying to be interested in this book.I thought I might revisit it after a break, but I have had absolutely NO interest in picking it back up over a few months. Maybe one day in the future, when I have nothing else to read, I may actually finish this book, but I doubt it. ...more
Not as good as the first two stories, but still a heartwarming story of the importance of family, love, friends, and time together with the people weNot as good as the first two stories, but still a heartwarming story of the importance of family, love, friends, and time together with the people we care about....more
I saw the movie before picking up the book, and although I don't recall much about the movie, I don't think it followed the book much at all (unless II saw the movie before picking up the book, and although I don't recall much about the movie, I don't think it followed the book much at all (unless I am mistaken).
I found this book to be a good story of adventure, innocence, and growing up. It caught my attention early on, and as the story progressed, I kept wanting to know more, and it became increasingly difficult to turn off the audiobook. I look forward to continuing the series....more
This was truly an eye-opening, educational experience for me. While, like many people in the book, I had heard of the Hmong, but I knew nothing of theThis was truly an eye-opening, educational experience for me. While, like many people in the book, I had heard of the Hmong, but I knew nothing of them (including their origins) and I especially had no idea that California's Central Valley was so densely populated by Hmong refugees. Not only did this book provide a great deal of education and background on the origins of the Hmong, their beliefs and general way of life, it really pointed out the challenges we (both Americans and refugees) face with bringing refugees from any country into the American culture, government, schools, hospitals, etc.
Most striking to me was near the end of the book, Nao Kao tells of his family's first days in America: They told us a refrigerator is a cold box where you put meat... We had never seen a toilet before and we thought maybe the water in it was to drink or cook with. Then our relatives told us what it was, but we didn't know whether we should sit or whether we should stand on it. Our relatives took us to the store but we didn't know that the cans and packages had food in them... Our relatives told us the stove is for cooking the food, but I was afraid to use it because it might explode. (p. 182)
After reading that, I thought, "For goodness sake, it never occurred to me that someone might not know what a toilet at least is, even if they never had one in their home..." It made me realize that I am severely undereducated about how other cultures live. I guess, as Americans (for better or worse), we don't often stop to think about how life outside of America might differ from our own. On page 276, Francesca Farr is quoted saying, “our view of reality is only a view, not reality itself.” …so true!!
Some other concepts that I found striking (and have no answers to):
1. The dilemma posed on page 78: whether a doctor should simplify (and thereby diminish) a patient’s treatment due to their inability to follow the plan, or continue to provide the same level of care, knowing that the efficacy of care may be hindered?
2. Welfare vs. working income: Refugees are sometimes perceived as refusing to get a job and support themselves, but the book points out that for many cultures, not having a job is a serious blow to their self-worth, especially for people who once held positions of high esteem in their home countries. But although they possessed all the skills they needed to thrive in their home countries, once in America, those skills are proven to be severely lacking in order to obtain work. Add to that, they might not be able to find anyone who speaks their language to help get them started in the right direction (as with a Hmong family who were the only Hmong in their community in Iowa).
3. “Hmong refugees in America rated ‘difficulty with American agencies’ as a more serious problem to them than ‘war memories’ or ‘family separation.’” This was quoted from the book’s reader guide, but I was having trouble putting this concept into my own words – it still struck me that despite the terrifically horrible war stories that were shared by the Lee and other Hmong families, dealing with American agencies rated as more difficult…
I could easily keep going, as there are many topics of interest to me in this book, but you should read it and come up with your own! :-)...more