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The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father
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May 2018: Family Drama > The Song Poet by Kao Kalia Yang - 4*

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message 1: by Doughgirl5562 (last edited May 20, 2018 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Doughgirl5562 | 816 comments A few years ago I read The Latehomecomer, this author's memoir of her Hmong family's flight from persecution in Thailand to life in America (in California and Minnesota). Minnesota has the largest population of Hmong refugees in America, and reading The Latehomecomer was an eye-opener about the Hmong culture and their experiences in Minnesota.

The Song Poet is the author's follow-up to The Laterhomecomer. It is specifically a memoir of her father. Both her father and her mother took menial physically punishing jobs in order to support their children. Kalia and siblings were expected to study hard and excel. This and the cultural shift between parents and children led to a few confrontations.

Again, the book was an eye-opener. I was admittedly shocked to read about the blatant prejudice that members of her family faced in Minnesota. Guess we Minnesotans aren't as tolerant as I would like to think.

This memoir is told from two different POV's - both the author's POV and her father's POV. While the switches between the POV's were obvious in the book, I listened to the audiobook (read by the author), and it got rather confusing.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments This looks very interesting. And heartbreaking. I did not realize that there was such a large population of Hmong in Minnesota. I have not read many books about it, mainly news articles and longer investigative pieces, but I think the way that many immigrants are taken advantage of in the workforce is appalling.

Isn't there also a large population of people from Somalia? I wonder what it is about Minnesota. It seems like an unlikely destination for immigrants. Especially those from warmer climates!


Doughgirl5562 | 816 comments You are well informed! Yes, there is a large Somali population here in MN also.

Actually, according to Wiki, there are more Hmong in CA. But MN has the second largest Hmong population in the US, and the percentage of the overall population is higher than CA. There are more than 60,000 Hmong refugees in MN, making up 1.2 percent of our population. (They make up only 0.2 percent of the population in CA.)


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