Alisha Slone's Reviews > Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
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Apr 08, 12

bookshelves: newbery
Read from March 18 to April 08, 2012

The plot occurs in 1975 in Saigon. The main character in this book is Ha, who attends school in Saigon. There are so may circumstances that Ha experiences throughout this story, the good and the bad instances. She is constantly fighting with her older brothers. She tosses papaya seeds out her window and it starts to grow. She watches it every day. One of the bad circumstances in Ha’s life is that her father has been missing while serving in the Vietnamese navy. She has a longing sadness for him, even though she doesn’t really know him, since he has been going most of her life. Ha’s best friend moves away without warning, which makes her feel lonely. Ha’s life is in so much turmoil. She is afraid and uncertain of how life will turn out or what will happen to her. In this book, it discusses how the Communists are coming and she can hear bombs outside where she lives. There are many schools being closed down and some her classmates start to vanish. Ha’s family doesn’t know if there will be enough food to eat, or if they will have food for their next meal. The family has to make the decision to leave, even though Ha has never lived anywhere else but Saigon. The family decides to leave Saigon and most of their possessions behind. They leave Saigon on a big ship. Living on the ship is very hard. Food and water are scarce. The family is unsure where to go once they get off the ship. Ha’s mother decides on the United States because she feels it has more to offer for her children. Once they get settled in the states, Ha is still unsure of living there. Times are still difficult for them. Even though Ha doesn’t like where they live, she accustoms to learning English. She also makes a new friend and starts to try new foods. Ha opens up and tries to make this work. I feel this book is a heartfelt story of a young girl that goes through so much and still manages to be okay in the end. That is more than most of us can say about one bad event, where she has dozens of bad ones. I think this book was great. I recommend this book to teachers wanting to teach on the hardship of the Vietnamese war in a more repectable way.
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