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Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam

af Thien Pham

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
818330,586 (4.2)Ingen
"Thien's first memory isn't a sight or a sound. It's the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It's the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam. After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don't get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. Strawberries come to signify struggle as Thien's mom and dad look for work. Potato chips are an indulgence that bring Thien so much joy that they become a necessity. Behind every cut of steak and inside every croissant lies a story. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search-- for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream."--Amazon.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
Gr 9 Up—Pham’s memoir entwines food with memory as he recounts his journey from Vietnam to America. Told
with humor and heart, his life story from childhood through adulthood shines a light on the challenges and joys of his
immigrant experience. Evocative art adds warmth and emotion.
  BackstoryBooks | Apr 1, 2024 |
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher of First Second Books, and the author Thien Pham for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I don't think having food as chapters or scenes to transition from one time to another was necessary. There could be deeper connections to be made and different ways to make transitions. I appreciated Pham's art style as I found it cute. I also appreciated the amount of details of everyday life spent in the refugee camps. The aspect of refugee camps tends to be seen as transitionary and often less spoken about as opposed to assimilating to America. I wish more works spent more time in the refugee process. ( )
  minhjngo | Mar 28, 2024 |
Through the framework of food (Vietnamese and American), Thien Pham recounts his family's perilous journey fleeing Vietnam, staying in a refugee camp, and eventually settling in San Jose, CA, thanks to sponsorship. As with all immigrant stories, the family struggled in a new culture and country but fortunately there were others in the community who could guide them. The parents worked dawn to dusk at manual labor, eventually saving up enough to buy and run a bakery and later a video rental store. Meanwhile Thien grows up fairly Americanized, even losing some of his Vietnamese language skills. The book closes with Thien interviewing his parents about their experiences so he could write this very book. The mom is the fierce heart of the story, the one who dared to dream for better for her loved ones. Tender, funny, and heartfelt. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 9, 2024 |
An engaging look at a family fleeing Vietnam in the wake of the war, enduring a refugee camp in Thailand, and resettling in the United States. As the author traces his life from five to forty-one, the author reflects on how hard it was to fit in, his regrets about assimilating too much, and how appalled he is at recent political movements built around fearmongering against refugees and immigrants.

Throughout the tale, his mother steals the show with her resourcefulness and determination. What a woman!

Aimed at younger readers, I feel the book could have provided them a little more context for the events that led to his family's trek and the years that events in the story occurred.

(Best of 2023 Project: I'm reading all the graphic novels that made it onto one of more of these lists:
Washington Post
NPR's Books We Love 2023: Favorite Comics and Graphic Novels

This book made both lists.)

FOR REFERENCE:

Contents: Chapter 1. Rice and Fish -- Chapter 2. Bánh Cuốn -- Chapter 3. Steak and Potatoes -- Chapter 4.Strawberries and Potato Chips -- Chapter 5. Salisbury Steak -- Chapter 6. Ham and Cheese Croissant -- Chapter 7. Cơm Tấm Đặc Biệt -- Chapter 8. Rice and Fish -- Endnotes ( )
  villemezbrown | Dec 7, 2023 |
Thien Pham tells his story of fleeing Vietnam, living in a refugee camp, arriving in America, and growing up in California through the lens of food, and the memories attached to it, from rice and fish to strawberries to ham and cheese croissants. His family struggles, but Vietnamese immigrants support each other and eventually thrive; Thien's family tries a bakery, then a video store. A final section (rice and fish, again) shows Thien as an adult, working as a teacher in the same school as Gene Luen Yang, finally motivated to get his citizenship by what he sees happening at the US/Mexico border.

See also: A Different Pond (picture book); Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Quotes/Notes

"It'll be okay...I'm right here. Close your eyes. It's going to be okay. I'm right here with you. I'm here." (Thien's mom to Thien as pirates attack their ship; variations are repeated over several pages of black, with freeze frames of the attack (when Thien opened his eyes?))(13-34)

"It should be so thin that the light will shine through it. But still strong enough to hold everything together." (Tuyet to Thien's mom, re: rice paper, 58)

"This is the reason we came to America. For you and your brother to go to school, so you can have a better future. You are our hopes and dreams....This is your story now." (Thien's mom, 118)

"Don, do you think I'm Vietnamese enough?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about." (Thien and his white friend, bowling, 177)

Endnotes (comics panels in black and white), Q&A style with different people/characters

"...we helped one another because we all needed one another. Getting here was hard, but starting over was harder and scarier. We were all struggling. But look at us now." (family friend Chu Nhan, 233) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 31, 2023 |
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My very first memory . . . is from when I was five.
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"Thien's first memory isn't a sight or a sound. It's the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It's the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam. After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don't get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. Strawberries come to signify struggle as Thien's mom and dad look for work. Potato chips are an indulgence that bring Thien so much joy that they become a necessity. Behind every cut of steak and inside every croissant lies a story. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search-- for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream."--Amazon.

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