CHILD OF WAR, WOMAN OF PEACE by Le Ly Hayslip

CHILD OF WAR, WOMAN OF PEACE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Displaying the same resilience that made her memoir of growing up in war-torn Vietnam (When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, 1989) so stunning, Hayslip now writes with equal frankness--and with the help of her eldest son--about her new life in the US. Arriving in California from Vietnam with her two sons and an elderly American husband, Ed, Hayslip found America to be a bewildering place: a world where the ``skills needed to survive in the jungles and corrupt back alleys no longer counted''; a world ``without ancestors, without cause and effect''; a world that for many Vietnamese was ``the land of the enemy.'' How Hayslip coped with these inevitable cultural clashes is the overriding theme here. The author's deep Buddhist faith proved a great source of strength and the one constant solace as Hayslip, despite her unwavering energy, courage, and optimism, proved often dangerously naive in her love and business affairs. While married to Ed, she had an affair with Dan, an American officer; when Ed died, she married Dennis, a divorcÇ with whom she had a third son, only to discover that Dennis was unstable and abusive. Dennis's accidental death freed Hayslip, but the pattern repeated itself--including through a disastrous reunion with Dan--and, although Hayslip prospered, using hard work as well as money from her husbands' insurance policies to buy houses, stocks, and a restaurant, she admits to being a sucker for con men. On her spiritual advisers' advice, she now devotes herself to healing the wounds of war, partly through her East Meets West Foundation. Today, in her 40s, Hayslip rejoices that she has fulfilled ``one dream.'' Inevitably less harrowing than Hayslip's first book, but no less compelling as the author offers a refreshingly honest look at both herself and Americans as she seeks reconciliation between her old and new homes.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-42111-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992