Book Review – Daughters of the Sea Memoirs by Hiep Thi Le

I enjoyed this novella. It was an eye-opener about how people in Da Nang, South Vietnam, lived. I have to say it was sad what this young girl had to endure at such an age to survive. The emotional stress in which she endured while her family when through the necessary process of escaping a dire situation.

I have to say it is a scary reality of what Hiep and her sister Hoa had to endure as young children. Hiep starts her story with the New Year celebration. Plus, she explains how life is in her town Da Nang, South Vietnam.

Hiep’s father and brother disappeared in the middle of the night. Fear of what the future might hold for her as well as the rest of her family. The people in the village started to whisper, and the police came to take her mother away. She was left with her siblings to fend for themselves.

Upon mom’s return, mom had to work many hours to provide for the family. One night she came to wake Hiep taking her out to the docks hiding her telling her to stay put. Sitting within the dark, all alone terrified, not knowing what was going on when her mother returned. She took Hiep placed her on a boat in a hole next to her little sister. The only thing her mother said, “Find your father,” before she disappeared.

No idea the direction the boat headed, the only thing Hiep did know was there were others aboard the ship. As they approached the checkpoint, Hiep’s younger sister awoke, as she yelled out for their mother. Fear of being caught ran through the boat; people wanted her silenced so they could make it through the checkpoint.

The boat made its way out into the open China Sea. The only person to care for them was their father’s best friend, who was the Captain of the ship. Running into a storm, everyone feared the sea would take them with the high waves; however, they made it through with many more issues before the ship arrived into a port. Being rescued by the Royal Navy, who told them had to stay aboard until cleared to go on land.

Even after cleared to leave the ship, they didn’t get to go far. A warehouse became their new home. It was packed full of people. At least there were other kids for them to hang around. It gave Hiep time to learn to be in charge, for she had the guts to rule the nest of kids.

Being moved from the warehouse to a Refugee camp was a bit better. There were still rules, but they had more freedom. Eventually, they left flying to the dreamland of the United States.

Hiep didn’t allow the trauma from her youth to hold her back. She went on to live the American dream of becoming a Famous Actress.

I would recommend this book for Mature Audiences due to the emotional turmoil this child went through.

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