Monday, February 23, 2009

Roots and Wings

Author: Many Ly

Ages: YA

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Summary: Grace is a Cambodian-American living with her mother and grandmother. Chandra Hok, her mother, got pregnant when she was 18. A disgrace like that was unforgivable by the Cambodian Community in St. Petersburg, Florida so they took off. Chandra became perfect in every other aspect and is seen as so by her daughter even though infuriating, Grace longs for her mother's approval and understanding. Grace is always plagued by all the unanswered questions of her past. Her grandmother won't talk about Cambodia and her mother won't speak of Grace's father. When her grandmother dies, she asks for a proper Cambodian funeral which leaves Grace and Chandra no choice, but to return to St. Petersburg. Grace is thrilled for the opportunity to discover her father, but is brought to reality. Cambodian traditions die hard and the fact that Chandra is husbandless and her grandmother was as well, creates a slight hatred in Chandra's heart for the city of her childhood and its inhabitants. Grace will have to deal with their prejudices even though some accept her readily.

Review: The overall plot of the book is great. All the details and the descriptions of emotions and the flashbacks really make you feel the story. The only, and big, problem is that it is extremely confusing. Each chapter starts with the present, but then in the middle it goes to a flashback of Grace's childhood. i think it would have been better if talked in the past tense. Then, the memories are confusing because Grace's age becomes unclear or blurred into the story.

Another thing was Grace's character. I could not relate to her at all in most of the story even though most people have gone through the same situation. She was completely random in parts; it wasn't that she was unpredictable, but just random. She definately had issues dealing with her emotions. Her mom, Chandra, was much more comprehendable and I felt bad for her because of Grace's merciless accusations and her grandmother's constant fights with her over the pettiest of details.

I think that its worth reading if you think you'll identify with a story of an immigrant's child. If you are looking for an amazing book, please look at others because this one is not it.

Rating: Can I give a 2.5? Roots and Wings gets a 2.5/5

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