Amy Becker's Reviews > Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
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Sep 14, 12

bookshelves: ya-literature
Read in September, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Hà is a ten year old girl living in South Vietnam after the United States has removed its troupes. This book is her journal as she tells the story of her journey from South Vietnam to America. She is experiencing many changes in her life and entering into young adulthood during a very difficult time in history. Her father was in the navy and has been missing in action for nine years, leaving her mother with the task of raising Hà and her three brothers on her own.

With the threat of communist run North Vietnam overtaking South Vietnam, Hà’s mother makes the difficult decision to leave South Vietnam on a navy ship in hopes of protecting her children and finding a better life. They ultimately end up in America and are sponsored by a man in Alabama. Hà and her family are forced to learn a new language, adapt their lifestyle, be baptized in a Baptist church, and live in a southern society that is still very much divided in regards to race relations. Throughout the book, Hà learns to grow stronger as an individual as she embraces her own culture and learns to live in American society, finding friends who accept her for who she is.

This story shows a side of the Vietnam War that is rarely discussed, from the perspective of a young girl who is living through the hardships that are caused by war. The entire book is written in prose form, but it still reads similar to how a typical historical journal would. By telling the story from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl, it makes the story much easier to be used for comparing and contrasting as well as giving a more personal look into the life of a Vietnamese refuge.
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