Inside Out & Back Again

2 06 2012

What a beautifully written book.  Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai is one of those novels written as a series of poems that seem to be getting very popular nowadays.   This wonderful story was a National Book Award Winner, a Newbery Honor book, and is now on the 2013 Rebecca Caudill nominee.  

It’s almost autobiographical, telling the story of a 10 year old girl named Ha, who is escaping South Vietnam with her family (mom and three brothers) as the Vietnam war is ending.  It’s 1974, and the American troops have pulled out of the country.  The Communist North is slowly taking over, and Ha’s mother decides it’s time for her family to leave. 

The story is told in three parts: Part one is life in Vietnam, showing Ha’s life at home, the things she loves, and all she’s ever known.  Part two is about the family’s escape on a navy vessel.   The third part tells about how Ha and her family adjust to life in Alabama, which is quite a far cry from Vietnam.

The book is made all the more poignant in the end when the author’s note reveals that the story is based on her own experiences, leaving Vietnam and arriving in 1970s Alabama.  

Overall, I highly recommend this lovely little story.  It’s the perfect addition to any study of the Vietnam war or poetry.  

This is #10 in my quest to read 90 books in 90 days this summer.  

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