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Kirkus calls Escaping The Tiger “essential”

December 22, 2009

Kirkus (circ. 5,000) – Review – “After fleeing across the Mekong River and nearly drowning in the process, 12-year-old Lao Vonlai, his older sister, Dalah, and his parents are confined to an overcrowded refugee camp in Thailand in 1982 to wait for resettlement in a Western country. Food is scarce, and camp conditions are horrific, with little to sustain the family but a sense of community and dwindling hope, as months of confinement become years. Vonlai befriends an aging Lao colonel who teaches him woodcarving and determination, and he valiantly protects his sister from the ever-present danger of sexual assault. Even after eventual resettlement, it is clear that many challenges remain for the teen and his family. Basing the story on her husband’s childhood experiences, the author documents the refugees’ harrowing plight in riveting episodes that capture the hardships endured by these too-often forgotten people and also illustrate Vonlai’s difficult coming of age. A sad afterword that pairs perfectly with the fictionalized tale summarizes the real-life experiences of Anousone Manivong, adding further depth to an already moving tale. Essential.”

Booklist (circ. 29,125) – Review – “Based on the author’s husband’s experience, this first novel about escape from Communist Laos in 1982 is told from the viewpoint of Vonlai Sirivong, 12, who flees with his family across the border to Thailand. The focus is on his four years spent in a cramped, miserable UN refugee camp, where he is unable to attend school after sixth grade, and he waits for admission to the U.S. Brutality is always present: in one scene, Vonlai protects his older sister from attempted rape. He also bonds with an older man who lost everything and dreams of life in America . Finally, his family is interviewed, they say good-bye to the camp, and they travel to Kansas, where Vonlai hates the food, loves the snow, and plays sports. The specific details about camp life may be too repetitive for some readers. But refugee families and their friends everywhere will recognize the cruel dislocation, the interminable wait, and the search for home.”

(See book trailer)

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Colleen Ryckert Cook permalink
    December 22, 2009 3:17 pm

    Congratulations on a deserved review, Laura! My heart swells for you 🙂

    Like

  2. Colleen Ryckert Cook permalink
    December 22, 2009 3:18 pm

    not sure why I’m getting a wonky face with my comment. Wish I knew how to make that face look thrilled and toss confetti

    Like

    • Laura Manivong permalink*
      December 22, 2009 3:56 pm

      no worries…that’s how I looked when I almost crashed into the car in front of me while reading the reviews on my Blackberry. Love you, C!

      Like

  3. December 22, 2009 3:45 pm

    Laura, those are fabulous reviews!

    Like

    • Laura Manivong permalink*
      December 22, 2009 3:56 pm

      Thank you so much…they make me feel a little weak in the knees. This whole deal is such a rollercoaster ride!

      Like

  4. January 2, 2010 12:20 pm

    Hey Laura, thanks for dropping by my blog. Just read the excerpt of Escaping the Tiger – It was really good.

    Much congrats of a great review

    Like

    • Laura Manivong permalink*
      January 2, 2010 12:57 pm

      Wow, thanks for taking the time to read. I appreciate it very much, and I enjoyed discovering your blog. I don’t get out as much as I should!

      Like

  5. February 5, 2010 9:54 am

    I’m not sure how I missed this, but SQUEEEEE! Can I cross post about it on my blog this weekend? PLEEAAASE?

    Like

  6. February 14, 2010 2:23 pm

    The reviews SAY great things about Escaping the Tiger. I’m so glad I have heard about your book and I look forward to reading it.

    Like

    • Laura Manivong permalink*
      April 15, 2010 10:29 pm

      A tardy thank you to you!

      Like

  7. February 14, 2010 3:01 pm

    Wow, impressive reviews from impressive sources, officially adding the book to the TBR pile!

    Like

    • Laura Manivong permalink*
      April 15, 2010 10:29 pm

      I hope you’ll consider my thanks better late than never!

      Like

  8. February 14, 2010 3:13 pm

    I look forward to reading your book as well. Fantastic reviews.

    Like

    • Laura Manivong permalink*
      April 15, 2010 10:30 pm

      Not sure how I missed seeing your comment earlier, but thank you very much. Would love to hear your opinion once you read it.

      Like

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