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Goodbye, Vietnam [Kindle Edition]

Gloria Whelan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.01 (14%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Kindle Edition $5.98  
Hardcover $12.95  
Paperback $6.29  
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Book Description

"When Mai's family discovers that Vietnam government soldiers will soon apprehend her father and grandmother, the family slips away in the night. They trudge through the swamps of the Mekong Delta toward the sea. The gut-wrenching trip to Hong Kong is just another step toward a new life, which the family eventually finds. Whelan's characters are distinctive, and her story is riveting, haunting, and memorable, reflecting the human virtues of determination, hope, love, and courage in the face of the most devastating of circumstances and injustices."--Booklist.  

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Whelan's ( Bringing the Farmhouse Home ; Hannah ) latest novel examines the monumental struggle and privation that a group of people must endure to escape political and economic oppression in contemporary Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Mai is frightened and distraught to learn that her parents have planned to leave their home and secure passage to Hong Kong. But with hopes of freedom and prosperity to spur them on, Mai and her relatives cram themselves onto a barely seaworthy boat captained by a crusty, greedy man. The voyage is difficult at best: food and water are scarce; illness, lice, rats and blazing sun plague the debilitated passengers. When they finally reach Hong Kong, the challenges of a police inspection and a camp filled with thousands of other refugees await them. Although it chronicles many brutal realities, Whelan's story maintains an air of cool composure. Mai is the perfect narrator through whom to introduce a large cast of unusual, sympathetic characters; her emotional control and keen observations prove to be a source of calm in the storm that swirls around her. Readers will be introduced to elements of a new culture and made painfully aware of social conditions in other parts of the world. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-- Since the grandmother faces arrest in present-day Vietnam for following the old religion and practicing healing, the Vinh family decides to flee their small rice-growing village in the Mekong Delta and escape by sea to Hong Kong. With his skills as a mechanic, the father has secured their passage on a small boat. In a first-person narrative, 13-year-old Mai relates their odyssey. Before boarding the boat, the Vinhs become acquainted with a female doctor and her daughter from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Whelan uses this relationship to set off Vietnamese rural life against the urban, the old traditions against the new. Perhaps because of this emphasis on imparting information, the plot is not as significant as it could be, and many of the characters are stock figures. Nonetheless, the book describes well the hardships many of America's newest refugees have endured and is one of the few accounts available on Vietnam's boat people. --Diane S. Marton, Arlington Coun ty Library, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 160 KB
  • Print Length: 148 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 067982376X
  • Publisher: Yearling; Bullseye Books ed edition (November 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004BLK7P2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,186 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vietnamese Diaspora - The Sail of Tears April 27, 2011
Mai, 13 lives in a small Vietnamese village. She has a sister, Anh, 9 and a brother Thant, 6. As the oldest, she had to leave school to work in the rice paddies to bring in extra income. Her family is strained financially; her father had been taken away by authorities and forced to serve a year in a prison work camp. The same threat is being issued to her grandmother. Authorities learned of her natural remedies, her healing powers and threatened to take her away permanently if she did not stop practicing her traditional remedies.

Hope comes in the form of her father's mechanic's tools. Those tools, he explains, will secure them passage on a boat to Hong Kong and out of Vietnam. Their uncle, who has successfully emigrated to Chicago and has also written them, telling them they can stay with him. Mai's father explains that the authorities cannot know that he has any job or skills other than farming. For the authorities to know he has skills in mechanics and has those tools will certainly mean imprisonment or death.

The day of escape has finally arrived. Mai and her family leave the village and everything they knew for an arduous, 2-day trek to the city where the boats are waiting. Readers walk every step of the way with them, reading with baited breath every time a jeep passes or someone in authority poses a threat. The grandmother uses ducks, traditional wisdom and old customs to get the family into the city, past the guards and the questioning.

Once in the city, families wait for their boats in makeshift camps. Many families have sold most if not all of their possessions just to secure passage on those boats.

When the boats do arrive, people are jammed into the boats, not unlike the slave ships during the mass exodus.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For young readers. May 17, 1999
By A Customer
I believe that this book is good for children because it explains things like sacrifice, suffering, and courage clearly. If a child reads this book, he or she will be interested because the principal character (a 13 years old) is telling the story. So, young readers can feel good witn this book, and also they learn about the true meaning of life. Finally, I would recomended that all children read this fantastic story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A ver inspiring read June 24, 2013
By Valwood
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a great read and has an amazing plot. I has taught me so much about what life looked like at that time and has inspired me to try harder. Love this book :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK April 27, 2000
By A Customer
My friends were reading this book and they said it was good so I triend it and it is one of my favorite books now. This book is a story about a girl and how she escapes with her family to Hong Kong and then on to America. Its a have to read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational June 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Finally I found an adolescent novel written with Viet Nam as the setting. The characters will inspire your students to be brave and courageous in the face of adversity and danger. The author develops strength of family relations with characters from three generations. There is breath taking suspense to hold the attention of teenagers, and they will laugh at the antics of the grandmother. If you have students whose parents or grandparents came to America, this is a great way to start those conversations about their heritage and the ancestors who took a risk for their freedom. My only disappointment is.... there is no sequel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape for a good life and freedom May 7, 1999
By A Customer
A 13 years old,Mai,and her family-father,mother, grandmother,her sister and brother-left their country,Vietnam,because the government wanted to arrest the grandmother and wanted the people work for them instead go to school,etc.Mai and her family left Veitnam by boat which had a lot of people.they spent a long time in the boat and lots of situations happened in that boat.Finally they found the land,Hong Kong,that they met other people from Vietmam.They stayed in the warehouse with other thousands people.It was a bad time there,however they could go to USA by supporting of their close reletive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's pretty good November 28, 1998
By A Customer
it's pretty good. it's really descriptive, and you could relate to the characters. it's not 100% authentic in its portrayal of vietnamese people though.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars get life!!! May 17, 1999
By A Customer
I really like this story very much. Because there are much type of life, love, sad, grad, die, newlife in this story. Before I read this story, I didn't know about Vietam War well. Mai's family and other Vietnammese people were left their own place. When I thoght "why they had to Escape?"I was so sad. Because when I lived in my country(Japan), I nevre have this cituation. Because there are no more war right now. I think this story is very good for my generation.I could about war and refugees. Also I could know to live is not easy. So Japanese young guy's are should readthis book! Anyway thank you for your recommend this book Mr.Nicholas!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Use in my 5th grade class every year
I use this in conjunction with Esperanza Rising and The Circuit to compare/contrast characters/settings/motives etc. The trio provides for very rich conversation.
Published 1 month ago by Jorey A Beamesderfer
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for middle schoolers
Goodbye Vietnam is a YA novel that tackles the subject of war and immigration with grace and sensitivity. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Melissa Reese Etheridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye,Vietnam is a great student summer read!
My child had to read this book for a summer reading requirement. Naturally, I read the book to be sure he would do a good job. Read more
Published on August 17, 2005 by Nancy Sue Buchanan
3.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye,Vietnam
Goodbye Vietnam would be a good book for children or adults interested in history.I for instance am interested in books about history i rated this book with only 3 stars because i... Read more
Published on September 27, 2001 by Jordan Cerra
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I first got interested in Vietnam at the age of 7. My eldest sister's husband was born in Vietnam. From everything he and his family has told me about it, it is 110% acurrate. Read more
Published on June 12, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars get life!!!
I really like this story very much. Because there are much type of life, love, sad, grad, die, newlife in this story. Before I read this story, I didn't know about Vietam War well. Read more
Published on May 17, 1999
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