Inside Out and Back Again (Thanhha Lai)

5 stars. Take it all.

This book was a quick read. 2 hours tops. It’s short but so impactful that I’m actually glad it’s this short because my heart can’t. At the back of my copy of the book there’s like a snippet of an interview with the author and it’s mentioned that this book is written in a style of poetry known as free verse. I never knew of such a style of poetry but my god it is so beautiful.

The book follows one year of Hà’s life during/after the Vietnam War and what she and her family had gone through as a refugee in America.

Each verse is a journal entry. And just when I thought I found the best verse, the next verse would completely sweep me away. I was reading this on the go so I didn’t have my post-its on hand with me, so I had to dog-ear the pages so that I’d go home to replace them with post-its, but I was dog-earring the entire book!!!!

Here’s a snippet:

Everyone knows the ship
could sink,
unable to hold
the piles of bodies
that keep crawling on
like raging ants
from a disrupted nest.

But no one
is heartless enough
to say
because what if
they had been
before their turn?

So few words and yet!

This is an amazing story written in the best way that’s possible.

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