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Dogtag Summer [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Partridge
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Twelve-year-old Tracy-or Tuyet-has always felt different. The villagers in Vietnam called her con-lai, or "half-breed," because her father was an American GI. And she doesn't fit in with her adoptive family in California, either. But when Tracy and a friend discover a soldier's dogtag hidden among her father's things, it sets her past and her present on a collision course. Where should her broken heart come to rest? In a time and place she remembers only in her dreams? Or among the people she now calls family? Partridge's sensitive portrayal of a girl and her family grappling with the complicated legacy of war is as timely today as the events were decades ago.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-8–In the summer after sixth grade, Tracy and her friend Stargazer find a dogtag among her father's things, which opens unpleasant memories for both the adopted Vietnamese American child and her father, whose PTSD has hampered his post-Vietnam war adjustment. α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

ELIZABETH PARTRIDGE is the author of several award-winning books for young readers, including Marching to Freedom, This Land Was Made for You and Me, and John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth. Elizabeth lives in

Product Details

  • File Size: 347 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1599901838
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Q3RGL8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,672 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book gave me so much to think about, and it kept me glued to the pages the entire time I read it. Protagonist Tracy is easy to like, and her confusion about who she is and where she came from just leaps out of the book. Her helpless rage is convincing and understandable, as is her inability to communicate her feelings to the people she loves. Because she doesn't know how to talk about her doubts and her fears, she instead keeps pushing her family and friends away. This is a heart-wrenching read, because it's hard to think about a young child enduring what Tracy had to. Her story is relevant to any war situation. During the horrors of fighting, it is always the most vulnerable who suffer the most.

Tracy has been adopted by an American couple, and the half-Vietnamese kid seems happy and carefree on the outside. Inside, however, she is a bundle of confusion. After finding an old ammo box in the garage, she is assailed with questions about herself. She remembers bits and pieces about her life in Vietnam - she had a grandmother who loved her, she lived beside a tea-colored river, and her mother worked for the Americans in the laundry at their base. What she doesn't remember is how she got to her adoptive home, and once she opens the ammo box, she is like Pandora. The box has been opened and her questions, like the ghosts of her past, won't leave her alone.

I found this story so compelling because I never stopped to think of something that is very obvious - adopted kids had a life before they were adopted. There was a there before there was a here. Tracy's there is filled with both soft, gentle memories, and more traumatic nightmares as the warfare escalated in 1975 Vietnam.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Who am I? Where do I belong? Who can I trust? These are questions that all children ask as they grow older, but for twelve-year-old Tracy these questions haunt her. In the moving story Dogtag Summer, Tracy knows that her mother was Vietnamese and she was adopted when she was six, just after the Vietnam War ended. But her parents won't share any other real information with her. So she is left with a hole in her heart, an empty place inside her.

As Tracy searches for her identity, a sense of home and where she belongs, she remembers bit by bit more of her childhood. Each chapter begins with a brief snippet of a memory, almost like a fragment of a dream, of Tracy's childhood in Vietnam. She remembers living with her grandmother, having her mother visit her, and running away from the bright lights of an American jeep. She remembers the villagers calling her con-lai, or 'half-breed', because her father was an American GI. But she can't remember enough to put all the pieces together, to fill the longing in her heart.

Partridge conveys Tracy's emotional struggle realistically, showing how this young girl is torn by the secrets stifling her home, and yet how she is unable to really articulate what it is she needs to understand. Her writing is both accessible and full of wonderful images. I can't wait share this with students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only for kids March 24, 2011
Were you a student filled with rightous outrage during the Vietnam War oblivious to the emotional ruin of soldiers returning home? The war was wrong as are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but we still have veterans who return and must deal with the aftermath of their experiences in those wars.This is a wakeup read for all of us who protested the war in Vietnam. Partridge's book does a brilliant job of edging the reader into the complex emtional fallout of being in and from a war zone. Weaving two perspectives, one of a child remembering her life in Vietnam with that of her adoptive father trying to forget the war, creates a tale that keeps you right on the edge right up until the end. The read is not just for children and would make a great point of discussion for any book club!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story of family and friendship November 15, 2014
Set in the years following the end of the Vietnam war, Dogtag Summer is a sweet coming of age story. Author, Elizabeth Partridge, does a good job of showing the impact of the war through the eyes of a child who doesn't understand the war, but lives with the suffering it causes. Partridge also does a good job of showing the strong feelings Americans had about the war. War orphan, Tracy, sees the hostility some people have towards vets. She also sees how vets are honored and respected. These conflicting points of view add to her confusion and feelings of isolation. Her father was an American soldier. She doesn't know what happened to her extended Vietnamese family. Her adopted American parents are loving and supportive, but Tracy feels like she can't talk to them about her feelings of loneliness and doubt. She also knows her parents are keeping secrets, and she fears the secrets are about her. As Tracy's memories of her life during the war begin to surface, she pulls away from her parents and best friend. She begins to have nightmares and feelings of doom. I appreciated that Partridge does not neatly wrap up all of the conflicts for an unrealistic happily ever after ending. But Tracy, and her parents, do learn that keeping secrets does not heal emotional wounds. And Tracy learns that a true friend will forgive you if you ask.
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Partridge graduated with a degree in Women's Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and later studied traditional Chinese medicine. She was an acupuncturist for more than twenty years before closing her medical practice to write full-time.

Elizabeth is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including Marching to Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary, as well as biographies of Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon. Partridge has also written several photo biographies for adults. Her books have received many honors, including National Book Award Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Michael L. Printz Honor, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. Elizabeth is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults.


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