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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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All The Broken Pieces Hardcover – April 1, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–8—In 1977, 12-year-old Matt Pin lives a fractured life. He is the son of a Vietnamese woman and an American soldier and was airlifted to safety from the war zone. Adopted by a caring American couple, he has vivid and horrific memories of the war and worries about the fates of his mother and badly injured little brother. Matt's adoptive family adores him, and he is the star pitcher for his middle school baseball team, but there are those who see his face and blame him for the deaths of the young men they lost in the war. The fractured theme runs the course of this short novel in verse: Matt's family, the bodies and hearts of the Vietnam vets, the country that is "only a pocketful of broken pieces" that Matt carries inside him. Ultimately, everything broken is revealed as nonetheless valuable. While most of the selections read less like poems and more like simple prose, the story is a lovely, moving one. Use this in a history class or paired with Katherine Applegate's Home of the Brave (Feiwel & Friends, 2007).—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Airlifted from Vietnam at the end of the war and adopted by a loving American family, Matt Pin, 12, is haunted by what he left behind, even as he bonds with his new little brother and becomes a star pitcher on the school baseball team. In rapid, simple free verse, the first-person narrative gradually reveals his secrets: his memories of mines, flames, screams, helicopters, bombs, and guns, as well as what the war did to his little brother (“He followed me / everywhere, / he follows me still”). But this stirring debut novel is about much more than therapy and survivor guilt. When his parents take Matt to a veterans’ meeting, he hears the soldiers’ stories of injury and rejection and begins to understand why the school bully calls him “frogface” (“My brother died / Because of you”). There is occasional contrivance as Matt eavesdrops on adults. But the haunting metaphors are never forced, and the intensity of the simple words, on the baseball field and in the war zone, will make readers want to rush to the end and then return to the beginning again to make connections between past and present, friends and enemies. Add this to the Booklist read-alike column “Children at War.” Grades 6-10. --Hazel Rochman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1St Edition edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545080924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545080927
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #954,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Matt Pin was airlifted from Vietnam at the age of 10 and adopted by an American family. He is now in seventh grade and has adjusted well to his new family. He remembers the early adoption classes and meetings when he was learning to speak English, and he's glad they helped him remember the customs and traditions of his culture. His American parents now have a biological son, but Matt has always felt loved and appreciated.

The downside is that Matt also remembers Vietnam. He hasn't forgotten the sounds, the smells, and the horrors of war. He knows his father was an American soldier, but he's not sure why he left his mother behind. Should he want to find this missing father or just put it all in the past? He knows his mother told him she loved him and that was why she sent him away, but how do you give up someone you love?

What haunts him the most is the younger brother he left behind. Matt can't find the words to share the tragic story that separated him from the toddler. His loving American parents hope time will heal the many wounds created by the awfulness of war. Their encouragement, along with that of another Vietnam vet, the game of baseball, and Matt's interest in music, work together to start the healing process.

ALL THE BROKEN PIECES is the first novel for author Ann E. Burg. Written in verse, the spare language brings focus to the raw emotions felt by all the characters. Burg examines the effects of war from many vantage points as she involves her readers in this turbulent time.

Even readers without a connection to this controversial war will come away with an understanding of the widespread damage done when war is chosen over peace.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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Format: Paperback
As an American combat soldier, who served in Vietnam, it was clearly evident to me, during my first 11 months of service, who were the real victims of that war…my fellow soldiers who served heroically. Then I visited an orphanage in Saigon during my last month in Vietnam. I never once thought of children suffering in that war but it was clear to me after the orphanage visit that the REAL victims of that war were the children. As soldiers, we expected trauma. As children growing up in Vietnam, during that war (and the preceding French version), children experienced horror that is indescribable. Parents and siblings killed, orphans left homeless, sometimes limbless, sometimes tragically fried by our indiscriminant use of napalm but all left with emotional scars that probably never healed. One thing we had in common with the children was our own inability to recover emotionally from the scars deeply entrenched by that war. Unpacking those emotions took decades for many of us with many more never recovering from not only the trauma associated with Vietnam but the blame implemented by our careless peers upon our return home.

All the Broken Pieces is an extraordinary piece of literature that puts the emotional pain clearly in view then slowly establishes healing. It was the story of Matt’s inner trauma that plagued his life until a baseball coach and Vietnam veteran’s mentorship began to set the stage for Matt’s healing. This book should be read by everybody who served in Vietnam and to everyone who would like to understand the complex emotional issues that tormented both children and soldiers of that war. My heartfelt thanks to Ann E. Burg who wrote this healing masterpiece that aloud me to repair my inability to cry after so many years.
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Format: Paperback
Matt Pin was born in Vietnam. His father was an American soldier who left Matt and his mother behind. When he was older, Matt's mother turned him over to the American soldiers because she thought he would have a better life in the U.S. Matt is adopted by an American couple, and he has a good support system, including a piano teacher who is also a veteran. Life in America isn't perfect, though. Matt struggles with feelings of guilt about the mother and brother he left behind in Vietnam. He also deals with prejudice from a fellow baseball team member. The verse in this novel really brings Matt's hurt and insecurity to the forefront in a raw, emotional way. I really loved this novel about aftermath of war.
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Format: Hardcover
Not only is "All The Broken Pieces" beautifully written, I found it compelling in every way:

The story is riveting -- a young Vietnamese boy adopted by an American couple at the end of the Vietnam war, how he outwardly acclimatizes to his new family, school and country but has a rich and troubled inner life riddled with nightmares and waking fears and how these and others' prejudices affect him;

The verse is spare yet utterly evocative in its brevity -- it communicates better than any regular prose novel the way images and conflicting thoughts and feelings tangle in people's minds every day;

The emotions it conveys from and about the characters are affecting -- you can't help but feel the small happinesses, the pain, the joy of resolution..

And all of this in a quick read that already has me returning to it to find passages that especially moved me. I think this book will resonate for anyone, and it will certainly have special relevance for those of us who lived through the Vietnam era, who had friends or loved ones who fought in the war, or who was there him or herself.
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