Inside Out & Back Again - Thanhha Lai Appeal Characteristics: historical, Vietnam, Communism, Refugees, School, Bullies, Friendship, Family, Adjustments

I love prose...and poetry...but most of the time I don't like reading a fiction story about it. I read this article with Thanhha explaining that the reason she felt this prose worked best for her book was Chinese/Vietnamese is a very "image" based language. Growing up she felt that it was an difficult adjustment to learn English because of how she "thought" in Vietnamese. The book was just beautifully done as you follow this family from the beauty of Vietnam to the middle of nowhere Alabama. I laughed at her description of how obsessed her brother was with Bruce Lee, and her descriptions of learning English, and the 'cowboy' family that sponsored them. I especially loved her astute observation about how the lunchroom was divided black and white separated...but where does the medium color fit in? This heartfelt novel just wants to make me hug all the children that migrate here from all over the world and have such moving stories to tell. Honestly, this made me want to go to Vietnam and see just how different the papaya taste there.

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