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MY NAME IS SAN HO by Jayne Pettit



Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
Publisher: Scholastic

A Vietnamese youth witnesses the horrors of war in his native land, then escapes to a strange, sometimes frightening new country when his mother marries a G.I. The author signals her didactic intent with a preface, going on to tell a simple, theme-dominant story: surviving massacres and attacks, San Ho flees his village, spends three years in Saigon, then joins his mother and stepfather in a Philadelphia suburb, where the pleasures of plenty vie with his sense of dislocation. Pettit bases this on her experiences as a teacher, and much of it--San Ho's uncontrollable fright when he hears a siren, or his slow, difficult acquisition of English--has a convincing ring; other incidents, such as an attack by a gang of teenaged vandals, or San Ho's Little League grand slam that erases a three ""point"" deficit, seem like perfunctory insertions. An earnest but uneven effort to guide readers toward greater sympathy for the challenges new immigrants face.