Books·Canadian

Too Young to Escape

In this memoir, Van Ho details her childhood in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, separated from her family and living under a repressive regime.

Van Ho and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

During the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Van wakes up one morning to find that her mother, sister, Loan, and brother, Tuan, are gone. They have escaped the new communist regime that has taken over Ho Chi Minh City for freedom in the West. Four-year-old Van is too young — and her grandmother is too old — for such a dangerous journey by boat, so the two have been left behind. Once settled in North America, her parents will eventually be able to sponsor them, and Van and her grandmother will fly away to safety. But in the meantime, Van is forced to work hard to satisfy her aunt and uncle, who treat her like an unwelcome servant. And at school she must learn that calling attention to herself is a mistake, especially when the bully who has been tormenting her turns out to be the son of a military policeman.

Van Ho's true story strikes at the heart and will resonate with so many families affected by war, where so many children are forced to live under or escape from repressive regimes. (From Pajama Press)

From the book

It was five o'clock. The rooster crowed, waking me up as usual. Ma and my older sisters were already gone. They often woke up early and went off to do their work. Auntie Phuong and her daughters shared the third floor sleeping area of the house with all of us. But as they usually kept the same hours as Ma, it didn't seem unusual that they were also gone.

But Tuan wasn't here.

My six-year-old brother almost never got up so early. Still, I didn't think much of it. Every now and then he had something special to do with his friends.

So that morning, only my grandmother, Bà Ngoại, and I still lay on our bamboo mats.


From Too Young to Escape by Van Ho Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch ©2018. Published by Pajama Press.

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