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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Thanhha Lai

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Title:Inside Out and Back Again
Authors:Thanhha Lai
Info:HarperCollins (2011), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Newberry Award, young girl, Vietnam, bully

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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011)


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Inside Out and Back Again
By Thanhha Lai (2013)

I liked Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai for three reasons. First, I liked the figurative language that exists within the novel. For example, “bombs explode like thunder,” “crawling on like raging ants from a disrupted nest,” “red and green flares explode like fireworks.” Figurative language is important because it makes the text come alive and gives it substance. In addition, it allows readers to visualize or associate something in the real world with the information. Second, I liked the writing style of the book—verse. Because the novel is written in verse a certain cadence is developed. Essentially, the words create a rhythm-like pattern almost like a song; thus, the novel flows affectively. Lastly, I liked how the Vietnamese culture and customs played an important role in the text. Although the family flees Vietnam, they are determined to stay true to their heritage. Overall, the “big idea” of Inside Out and Back Again is to reveal the struggles that refugees face as they leave their homeland, and start a new life in an unfamiliar place. ( )
  Mdierd1 | Mar 31, 2014 |
This is a richly crafted story of a young Vietnamese refugee's first year in the United States after the fall of Saigon. Written in spare verse, the book does an amazing job at conveying the inner heart of a bright young girl in an unfamiliar land. Read after you read the Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now, both set during the Vietnam war from an American perspective.
  mebrock | Mar 25, 2014 |
This was good book, but not one of my favorites. I did like the aspect that this book was written in poem style, but still had the chapter book feel because it was broken into different parts that went over different parts of Há’s life, such as part one was about her life in Vietnam, part two was her journey to America, part three was about when her family and her first arrived to America. Breaking the book into sections allowed me to follow along, as reader, with the events going on in that section. Another feature I liked about this book was that the even though it was in poem form there was still dialogue in the book. The author used italics to signal to the reader that this was actual dialogue between Há and another character. One thing that set me back from loving this book was that, because the book was in poem form it lacked a lot of the detail I am used to reading in a normal chapter book. Although the details were not a in depth as a chapter as a reader I was able to still connect with the story and Há’s emotions.
The main message of this story was to inform the reader of the struggles, hardship, and sometimes racisms that immigrants face when starting their life somewhere new. ( )
  CassandraQuigley | Mar 24, 2014 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was written in verse and represented a Vietnamese girl’s daily journal entrees. It did a good job of portraying the events in her life that stood out to her. So in that respect, it did look like a book or a journal that a young girl wrote. The book could have contained much more detail and description had it been written in a different style and I would have liked it more. To me the book felt too thin for such a big topic, discrimination and change. The book was easy to read and understand and did a good job portraying the bigotry and ignorance of the community towards a Vietnamese family. The theme was about the struggle to adapt to a new culture and fit in and gain acceptance. ( )
  Madams21 | Mar 20, 2014 |
I have mixed feelings after reading this book. I liked the book because characters were believable and well developed. When looking at Ha’s family, her mother and four three older brothers they all act in way that normal families would. For instance the older Brother Quang, who seemed to take over being the head of the household in the absence of their father, he translates everything for the family, he insists that the mother doesn't sell her ring to buy new clothes so she would continue to have something to represent the love she shared with their dad, and he also in the way that he speaks, it’s with such authority. When talking to his mother about the government giving the sponsors money for them he says, it’s to ease the guilt of losing the war. Though he is an adult the language he uses is more like a person who has some authority. Also in this family the brothers are protective of their little sister, they come to her rescue when she is being bullied at school. So the characters in this book are just like any other family when it comes to the relationships between them. The reason I don’t like this book, is the way it was writing. I didn't like the structure, poems describing the year of her life after leaving Saigon. I could follow the story but I felt like there were too many unanswered questions. The biggest one of all being did the father really die. I wondered if he had really died or if the mother losing the ring was just a symbolic way of saying since the amethyst was gone and never to return that farther must be dead never to return. This book just didn't grab my attention as a reader even though I understood what was happening in it. The big idea of the story was to document the journey of Ha as she transitioned and assimilated into a new culture. It was about finding herself within her new life. ( )
  vbarbe1 | Mar 8, 2014 |
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To the millions of refugees in the world, may you each find a home
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061962783, Hardcover)

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

(summary from another edition)

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