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Carolyn G. (South Pasadena, CA)
An interesting read
I found this an interesting read. The story is a nice blend of modern and old Vietnamese culture. There are few books in English which deal with this period of North Vietnam history. The characters are interesting and the story includes information about cooking and visual art two of my favorite subjects. I also appreciated that the author did not seem to have any political slants and just told a story.
Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC)
From the Future to the Past to the Present
I had myriad of emotions while reading this heartfelt story. I was grateful to the author for writing a book which focused on the people of the northern part of Vietnam and their need to free themselves from the colonial presences and in the end retained a different yoke on their souls. I was sadden to once again be reminded that war damages people far longer than the conflict itself and is never-ending. I was amazed by the resilience of the people to maintain their humanity through the horror of the many conflicts. And lastly I was enlightened on the history and culture of North Vietnam.
Kathleen W. (Appleton, WI)
The Beauty of Humanity Movement
The author was able to invoke all of these emotions through the skillful storytelling of the three main characters, each of whom will need to resolve their personal demons, and find that will come when they come together and accept each other for who they are. A strong cast of secondary characters rounds out the story. The writing was beautifully subtle invoking time and place.
While overall I enjoyed the story, at places the story was repetitive and this seemed to drag out the events.
I loved this book! Being a baby-boomer, I have long wondered why there have not been more books written about the Vietnam War and its after effects. The author writes with great sensitivity about some very difficult issues. I was impressed by her ability to weave together the stories of the various characters. Even the minor characters are memorable and add to the richness of the book. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who are interested in the people, rather than the politics or the battles, of the Vietnam War era of American history.
Jan M. (Jenks, OK)
A difficult life of diligence and dedication.
This was my first Camilla Gibb book, but it certainly will not be my last. She has a lovely style that paints beautifully descriptive pictures of a land and it's people with whom I'm not well acquainted. My husband was a Vietnam vet who often wished to return to see the aftermath of the war. Ms. Gibb revealed the struggles of just simple day to day living. The loyalty of Mr. Hungs friends, the love of his neighbor, and his innovative diligence to his craft of making soup was heartwarming. I had trouble with some of the language, but with the help of my Vietnamese manicurist was better able to understand some of the terms. This was a simple story about a simple man that was very well written and left this reader wanting to know more about the "after the war" life of his people. I plan to recommend this book for our book club's reading and discussion list.
Freya H. (Phoenix, AZ)
The Beauty of Humanity Movement
This was a wonderful book! The story line was captivating and the characters so well developed you felt as though, surely, you wanted to know them. I will be recommending the book to my Book Group.
Carol J. (Isle, MN)
A Peek at Vietnam
As I read this delightful book, The Beauty of the Humanity Movement, my mouth watered for a bowl of pho! Unfortunately, no Vietnamese restaurants nearby. Camilla Gibb skillfully transported me to VietNam, both past and present. I loved getting to know her character's and learning more about the history of VietNam and its people. The only distractor for me was the Vietnamese words and expressions, would have loved to have a dictionary/translator. I would highly recommend the book. I am looking forward to reading one of Ms. Gibb's other books and hoping it is as entertaining. Definitely a book club recommendation!
Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)
Beauty of Humanity Movement
This is a slow starting book that makes up for it with the ending in which things rapidly, if surprisingly occur. There are two themes in this book: one is what makes a family; and the other is a picture of Hanoi in the 70's and 80's. At times the book can be confusing as it jumps from the present time to the past without any clear delineation and is certainly not a fast read. The characters, however, are memorable and fully developed and it is a book worth staying with.
Debra V. (Kenosha, WI)
Odd Title/Good Book
The reason that I requested this book to review was that the story was set in post-war Vietnam. My generation grew up in the shadow of that war and my view of Viet Nam was taken from the nightly news reports, and later from the vets who returned -- many of them emotionally damaged. It is a beautifully written story of the Vietnamese families that were also damaged by this conflict and how they were able to move forward in spite of a repressive and misguided government. A great book for women of my generation who want to know more about the ordinary people of Viet Nam after the war that changed all of our lives.