Monday, September 14, 2015

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Number of Pages: 272
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: Borrowed from local library

Summary {via GoodReads}: 
This remarkable novel from Thanhha Lại, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family.

A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale about a girl who discovers that home and culture, family and friends, can all mean different things.

She thinks: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. But, I just couldn’t. Mai was just too whiny. She complained about nearly everything and was somewhat manipulative. More of a “I’ll do that if you do this” manipulation mentality.

I think it was a beautiful story that would have worked better had Mai been an older teen. Her boy crazy attitude and “best friend” seem more reminiscent of a young girl in the beginning years of high school. Everything expected of her and asked of her was a bit much for such a young girl, in my opinion.

Now to be fair, I’m sure as a 12-year-old, I whined a crap ton when I was made to go on trips to places I had never been, but I felt she should have evolved from the whining. That she should have learned something. And, when we got to the part of the story where I felt that could truly happen, it didn’t. She continued to whine. I found it frustrating that her only growth was learning to speak Vietnamese well and getting closure with her grandmother. I hope, as I get more into Middle Grade books, that this is not the norm. I very much enjoyed Wonder, which I did not find whiny at all.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a beautiful cover of the book and I cannot take my eyes off it! What concerns the content, it is truly fascinating in terms of family relations and education!