Lisa Nocita's Reviews > Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
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's review
Dec 27, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, ya-2011
Read on December 27, 2011

Inside Out & Back Again recounts a year in the life of a young Kim Ha, a ten-year-old girl, whose family flees Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon. The story is infused with equal parts sadness and wonder. Despite the horror of war, Ha finds much to love about her country. She is torn by wanting to remain in case her father, missing for nine years, returns home to find them, and wanting to go somewhere where life could be easier for her family. But starting over in the United States is anything but easy. Ha and her family must work hard to make a life for themselves in a new land where people are not always welcoming nor friendly. You can't help but like Ha, for all her flaws, real and imagined, but mostly I think people will relate to the difficulty of her situation and feel for her sadness and triumphs. This novel in verse is a natural companion piece to Ann Burg's All the Broken Pieces which tells a similar story from a boy's perspective.
I liked the quote,"Whoever invented English should be bitten by a snake."

Someone in another review said this may be the kind of book that adults like to like and I would have to agree. I think it offers a great perspective about immigration and the hardships of fitting in, merging one's cultural identity and practices, and the difficulty of language, but it offers more of a message/memoir than a story which may only appeal to a small population of tween readers. Quick and easy read.

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