Thursday, October 26, 2006
This is another title that I read expressly for use in our East Meets West book night. I really enjoyed this take on the immigrant experience.
Du and his grandmother have been waiting for 8 years to join the rest of their family in California. They all left Vietnam at the same time, but grandmother and Du had TB, and were left behind.
When father finally gets the money together to bring Du and grandmother over, the rest of their family is pretty much Americanized. Du's brothers and sisters are embarassed by his constant trouble making and odd behaviour. His parents are always at work, and only seem to notice him when he gets in trouble at school. And school. That awful place is where Du feels most alone. He knows he is not stupid, but his lack of English is making everyone else talk to him like he is an idiot.
This is a fascinating story in that the reader is truly in Du's headspace. Eventhough we assume his thoughts are in Vietnamese, we are reading them in English. The reader recognized the very real struggles that Du is facing. This misunderstandings, and miscommunications. Without being preachy, this book makes readers stop and think about their own assumptions.
A thoughtful read.