I really enjoyed THIRD WAVE, for many reason and on different levels. The story alternates settings with the initial chapters. We follow Yen trying to escape Vietnam and join her family in the US, and then learn about her family, sponsored by Margaret Bailey here in the states.
The story is interesting from start to finish. Chapter One is dated 1981 and as mentioned, deals with Yen, a young woman, and her relentless determination to escape Vietnam with her young nephew – to reach her family in the US. I enjoyed the direct narrative style, it fit the characters and their circumstances perfectly.
The struggle took years. They were betrayed, spent time in a prison camp, but never lost their resovlve. After their release from the camp, they tried to escape again, and were literally snatched from death. They succeed while so many others had died trying. The account is well told, with just enough detail to make it real without slowing down the pace.
Then there’s the story of the family waiting in America. It’s absolutely refreshing to find someone willing to open their soul and their life up so completely. The author is honest, and tells the story as if relating to a friend. We see how an international family is forced to integrate, a “United Nations” of cultural diversity. It doesn’t always work as planned, but it is always fascinating.
Some of the comments really communicate the eternal truths of parenthood. Margaret has sponsored previous waves of refugees from Vietnam. They are now her family, her children. She is forced to watch as, on occasion, her family faces a descrimination she has never know. At the same time she must come to grips with the realization that her family is changing – will change – and she wonders how her place in it will change. Here’s one quote that touched me as she struggles with the changes:
“I’m not giving up that easily.” Giving up what? On the unfairness of the arrest? Or her place in his life? Both.
The reaction of Yen and her nephew when they first get to America is great. Running water, nice bed, and fire alarms. I enjoyed sharing those new experiences with them.
Finally, the struggle to continue as a family amid progress and change. Here it becomes obvious that in some ways, all families deal with the same problems, joys, and decisions. Again, the honesty is both refreshing and engaging. The narration fits the story well. It’s an interesting read, and the writing itself enhances the simple truth to the story.
THIRD WAVE will appeal to just about anyone who wants to understand life, love, and family just a little better.