I am just bouncing back-ish from being down with the sickness, so sorry this is a day behind. I just finished listening to this book and want to tell everyone I come into contact with about it. I love the weaving of Vietnamese and American culture. I love the concepts presented. Also, Lulu Lamb has become one of my top five book narrators. This book had me laughing out loud, groaning, and freaking out (leaches, yuck!).
Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại
This summer, Mai desperately wants to hang out with her friends and her crush on the beach in Laguna. However, her family has made other plans. Mai will be spending her summer in Vietnam with her grandmother, Ba. During the Vietnam War, Bà’s husband, Ông, disappeared and she is returning now to come to terms with his life and death. Bà and Mai travel to Bà’s hometown and then further through Vietnam to connect to more parts of Ông’s past. Mai begins the trip as a stereotypical American preteen, but shows growth throughout the novel. Her Vietnamese and desire to connect with her roots grows as the novel progresses. Mai soon befriends prickly Út and her local translator.
Mai is super annoying, but she is funny. I enjoyed the characters. I listened to this novel and think that Lulu Lamb (the reader) made this book. Her spin on characters made them relatable and fun. This novel discusses the concepts of history in Vietnam, connection to family, and being bi-cultural.