Book set in Vietnam and USA – If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail Rosewood In this novel we follow a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and her necessary return to her homeland. It’s an amazing journey and a very unique one. Imagine leaving your homeland when young, moving to the USA and then having to return to a country you’ve never known…and for painful personal reasons.
The book asks us a question – “Do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?
This is such an emotional read.
We meet the narrator of this novel in Vietnam as she is there to meet her mother who is living in a military camp. She’s there for her own protection since she works as an energy consultant and not everyone in the country agree with what she does. This is a country where control of the people is paramount.
The daughter is looked after by a soldier who has more time to spend with her. It was really sad to see the breakdown of the relationship and the desperate need of a child to seek love from her own mother and not really get it . However what the child doesn’t know is that the mother is only cold and distant as it has been the only way to save them both. She does form a close friendship with another girl, but then has to leave her too when she manages to be smuggled out to America.
A new life beckons. And this is when we see her desperate journey of trying to fit in to a new homeland. She tries to connect with home and news of her mother. This is a sad and tricky time for her and it was interesting to see how she coped and what she went through. I was pleased when she met Lilah !
This is certainly a tale of loss and love, of heartbreak and wanting to fit in, be a part of something. It’s emotional on so many levels too. Add to that cultural differences, politics and a wide gap between freedom and duty and it’s hard to imagine.
Quite a novel. One that has ripples long after you’ve finished reading it.