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My Name Is San Ho

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite the deluge of material dealing with the Vietnam War and its aftermath, readers rarely get to see what the war was like for the people who felt its impact the most: the Vietnamese. Pettit aims to redress that imbalance with this earnest narrative. At nine San Ho has never known peacetime--or his father, who was killed in the army before the boy's birth. After Communists wreak havoc on his South Vietnamese village, San Ho's mother takes him to Saigon to stay with a friend. Three years later and remarried, she sends for her son to come to America. Most of the novel describes San Ho's acculturative efforts, but filtered through his adult sensibilities this bland section suffers by contrast with the powerful emotions and drama of the Vietnam scenes. (The American portions contain very little dialogue or conflict--San Ho never resents his mother for leaving him, and his stepfather is conveniently offstage for most of the story.) Although ultimately unsatisfying, this book powerfully depicts the effects of the war on its innocent victims. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-- Written in the first person, this plotless work chronicles the life of a young Vietnamese boy growing up in a war-ravaged land; joining his mother and stepfather in America; and learning to adjust to a new way of life. Born in a small village north of Saigon that was subjected to both napalm attacks and raids by the Viet Cong, San Ho is sent to Saigon by his mother for his own safety. Fearful and lonely, he attends a Catholic school and stays with his mother's friends on weekends. Always there is the war--the daily air-raid drills, the nightly gunfire, the danger of explosions. After three years, his mother, now married to an American marine, is finally able to bring San Ho to their home outside Philadelphia. In the concluding chapter San Ho reveals he has become a high school teacher of American history. Although it is not always clear, presumably this older San Ho has told the story throughout. While Pettit often treats facts, events, and emotions in prosaic fashion, this linear account may nonetheless be useful in communities having not only new residents from Vietnam but also immigrants from other countries in conflict. --Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590441728
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1992
  • Pages: 192
  • Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)

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