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Ocean Vuong is a poet who brings his art to fiction. This novel tells the complex story of how a boy learns to define himself as a loving, full person despite being a "one-use boy." The novel juxtaposes scenes of abuse and complicated family love with the boy's own violent yet loving relationship with another damaged child. The language is lush, emotional, hard-edged. It's a novel about being treated as the "other"--a Vietnamese American, gay, poor, brilliant--and yet creating the ability to see the world as beautiful. The book speaks for all of us trying to make our way.
The novel is in the form of a moving letter written by the narrator to his mother about his life growing up in a small American town with her and her mother, both immigrants from Vietnam, and about important parts of his life his mother was unaware of. Some of the narrator's memories are fragmented, others are crystal clear; they all come together marvelously at the end.
I didn’t receive the edition with the cover shown in the photo, which is disappointing because that’s why I chose to buy from this specific listing. I love the book but really wanted the different cover edition.