"The Reeducation of Cherry Truong transcends ethnicity and culture and dives headlong into the plight of being human….Aimee Phan's prose is beautifully intricate yet powerful in what it reveals and exposes."---Jennie Shortridge, author of Eating Heaven
Cherry Truong's parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives. Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to her family's native country and finds herself on a journey to uncover decades-old secrets---hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and the currents of history.
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong is the sweeping story of two spirited and unforgettable families---the Truongs and the Vos---and their yearning for reconciliation, redemption, and a place to call home.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Aimee Phan grew up in Orange County, California, and now teaches in the MFA Writing Program and Writing and Literature Program at California College of the Arts. A 2010 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, Aimee received her MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she won a Maytag Fellowship. Her first book, We Should Never Meet, was named a Notable Book by the Kiryama Prize in fiction and a finalist for the 2005 Asian American Literary Awards. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Oregonian among others.
Reading Group Guide
A young woman journeys back to Vietnam to uncover family secretsin this first novel from the author of We Should Never Meet
CHERRY TRUONG's parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives. Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to their homeland and finds herself on a journey to uncover her family's decades-old secretshidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and currents of history.
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong tells the story of two fierce and unforgettable families, the Truongs and the Vos: their harrowing escape from Vietnam after the war, the betrayal that divided them, and the stubborn memories that continue to bind them years later, even as they come to terms with their hidden sacrifices and bitter mistakes. Kim-Ly, Cherry's grandmother, once wealthy and powerful in Vietnam, now struggles to survive in Little Saigon, California without English or a driver's license. Cherry's other grandmother Hoa, whose domineering husband has developed dementia, discovers a cache of letters from a woman she thought had been left behind. As Cherry pieces their stories together, she uncovers the burden of her family's love and the consequences of their choices.
Set in Vietnam, France, and the United States, Aimee Phan's sweeping debut novel reveals a family still yearning for reconciliation, redemption, and a place to call home.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Two Vietnamese families, escaping Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, some go to France and some go to the United States after there stay in a relocation zone. What do they bring with them and how it affects their future is the basis for this wonderful novel by Phan. Immensely readable and addictive we follow the family as they attempt to acclimate to their new homes and way of life. Yet secrets and things they have done will follow them always and effect them and their children in negative ways throughout their lives. We can never escape ourselves. Grandma Vo is a piece of work, said to have run a black market racket in Vietnam she has all the money and interferes by using manipulation and guilt in her children's lives. My favorite character was the grandmother Hoa who has not had an easy time with her husband yet comes fully into her own when he is diagnosed with Alzheimers. I loved reading the progression and growth of the characters, all were interesting and well rounded. There is much strength in this novel and it shows the reality of the immigrant experience. Did appreciate the family chart at the front of the book because there were many unfamiliar names of which to keep track.
Beautifully written, gives splendid insight into Vietamese-American culture. I greatly enjoyed it.
Reason for Reading: I love Asian historical family generational dramas!This was an immensely satisfying read and will appeal to readers of Lisa See and more so Amy Tan. Dealing with a South Vietnamese family who escapes after the Americans leave and they've had enough of Communist rule. The refugee family ends up in Malaysia and then is split when the patriarch and entire family but one son and his expectant wife emigrate to Paris. The other goes to America. The book moves from past to present as it examines how this one episode had lasting effects on the family down to the third generation. As the granddaughter, Cherry, of the patriarch discovers deep hidden secrets about individual family members the whole truth of that one incident becomes revealed. The story focuses on family relationships between various members (brother/sister, cousins, grandmother/granddaughter, parents/eldest son, etc), generational relationships, cultural differences between the generations and the immigrant experience. The story is not American centric either which makes it unique for this type of story. Yes, one family experiences life in the US, but we also see the perspective of the Vietnamese immigrant in Paris at the same time.There are many characters to keep track of and they are all intriguing in their own way. I didn't really find many of them lovable as they, mostly, all, at some point show character flaws, some quite terrific, that made them hard, for me, to really like as people, but I was extremely invested in them and how their lives would work out in the end. I love how the choices of the first generation end up affecting the third in ways that are traced back to those choices. Could whole lives have been lived differently if selfish decisions had been set aside many years ago?This was a quick read for me. It took a little bit to get going as the story does switch back and forth through time, telling one person's story, then another's but once I got used to this I was turning the pages as fast as I could read. Though the book is named after the American granddaughter, Cherry, it was the French grandmother, Hoa, who was the most intriguing character to me and I enjoyed her storyline the most. The abrupt ending startled me, but otherwise I very much enjoyed this sometimes dark and always unforgettable story of familial ties, love and betrayal. Aimee Phan is an author to watch for in the future.