Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Against My Will

I read a book this weekend I didn't want to read. This book would never have made it into my home and never been opened if it had been up to me. It looked sad. It's a memoir, about a boy in a foreign land in horrible situations. Nothing about it appealed to me.
However . . . the book club I joined this summer had picked it out to discuss for our meeting tonight. It finally came in the mail Friday so I resolved to at least start reading it Saturday during the boring parts of football games.
Well, it was so good I couldn't put it down and I forgot to keep track of the games.
Kien Nguyen was eight years old when Saigon fell in 1975. His mother was Vietnamese. His father, an American soldier, left when Kien was three months old. Racism and Communism are terms I've heard all my life, but in reading this book, written in 2001, I learned them anew. So many memoirs are about times before I was born. How could this have been happening on this planet when I was in high school in Kingston, Tennessee?
Books like this, The Unwanted, are why I'm in book clubs. I will not of my own accord choose hard or unhappy things. And yet I say I want to grow and expand my horizons. Again I've learned something - against my will.
Thank goodness I don't always get my way.


Jodie said...

Sounds like Daniel Mendelsohn's "The Lost."

Kay Dew Shostak said...

I don't know that book - I'm sure I wouldn't like it.
Just kidding - I might like it if I'm ever forced to read it!