“This is a very moving account of how one Hmong family came to America. A must read. I was honored to have met her and her sister, Dawb, at my book club. They are a joy to talk with. I am amazed at their lives and what they have accomplished in such a short time in America. ”Susan G wrote this review Saturday, January 10, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I really found the writing style difficult at the beginning when she was recounting her very young days: very short and clipped. As she grew up, however, the style changed and I did enjoy it.
I live in a part of WI that has a very large Hmong population. I grew up with Hmong friends. However, I remember an event from my childhood where I must have been repeating some hateful thing that I had heard from older kids --- a racial slur of some kind. I remember my father's hand swooping down and jerking me up by the back of the shirt. He was a Vietnam Vet, though of course at my young age I didn't know what that meant.
He said to me "Don't let me *ever* hear you talking like that about anyone! Those people fought alongside our country in the war and then America broke nearly every promise it made to them!" I was shocked and certainly took his words to heart. As I grew up I also learned that my father had been an object of ridicule to other soldiers b/c of his kindness to the Hmong and Vietnamese while he was in country. He tells those stories only with sadness at the cruelty of other people, and I am amazed at the difference a 19 year old boy could make so far from home in a time of war.
This book made me think of that, as well as all my Hmong friends whom I have not seen since high school so many years ago. B/c of that interaction with my dad, I grew up to have such a respect for the Hmong and was very interested in their culture. This book gave me another glimpse, that of the struggle, that my Hmong friends probably would have never wanted me to see. ”
“A must read!”mnnorthwoodsgal wrote this review Sunday, July 20, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I heard Kao Kalia Yang speaking on Twin Cities Live in early June. The book and her description of it was enough to pique my interest.
What a fabulous book! It's the story of the journey of Kaila's family from Laos to the refugee camps of Thailand and finally St. Paul, MN. Kaila's writing is straightforward and easy to understand.
Both my husband and I identified with parts of this story.
He grew up in St. Paul and knew of all the neighborhoods that Kaila and her family lived in. He lived in the McDonough Projects after his family lost their home in a fire, identified with ghosts in St. Paul, and graduated from Harding High School.
I identified with the members of Kalia's family. Kaila's oldest sister was born in Laos and she was born in Thailand. Her mother had several miscarriages before successfully giving birth to 5 more babies in Minnesota. Like Kalia, there are 7 children in my family (and miscarriages). The birth order appears to be the same too. Two girls, a boy, 3 more girls and lastly another boy. Like her and her older sister, Dawb, my sister and I took care of the younger children.
If you like biographies/memoirs or would like to learn more about the Hmong, read this book. Perhaps, you too will identify with parts of Kalia's life. ”
“I was lucky to meet the author, Kalia Yang, when she was reading from her book. She is amazingly intelligent and a beautiful, poetic person. This is the story of her family's escape from war-torn Laos and ultimate arrival in USA (Minnesota). She tells her family's story and the story of Hmong people - a largely unknown story outside of small pockets in MN and CA. This is an excellent book - well written, fascinating, and an important part of American history. Read this book!”my4giraffes wrote this review Monday, June 9, 2008. ( reply | view 1 replies | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No