Village Crier Review

Wonderful review in The Village Crier on 15 December 2016. Thank you!

Having the author come to your reading group is a delight, and this marks the second author visitation in two months for the Ridge Readers.  Kathy Dobronyi is the author of the time she and her family spent in Viet Nam in 1963-4.  Some of us remember that era, but the military insisted that it was safe for the family of four to be stationed in Saigon.  Not exactly true.

The memoir is a remembering, and Kathy not only remembers, she relives the events, on the page and in her emotions.  Telling how her family worked the life in this Asian land brought tears to her eyes, and we all remembered the first protesting Buddhist monk going up in flames.  Kathy was attending school, learning to play a musical instrument, was going shopping, having play dates when the country was falling apart, but the beat went on.  As much as possible, the family lived as American as they could, but they still had to realize that they were not safe.  Even though they had their US supplies, bombs were going off.  Meals were a semblance of what Kathy’s mother ordered as an American, courtesy of the PX, but their housekeeper/cook tried to interest them in Vietnamese food.  The household was living in two worlds.

The entire family dealt with the stress and anxiety in various ways.  Kathy’s brother took to wandering the streets, Kathy’s father tried to balance the demands of work with his family, and Kathy’s mother tried to run an American household in a foreign land. But, no one could be successful with the government unrest, the curfews, the bombings, and the Buddhist martyrs.

The book is narrated from the view point of Kathy as a 12 year old, but this is not a YA book.  Our book group was enraptured with the narrative, and shocked at the effect the war had on this family.  We also asked how she wrote, and she insists on writing in longhand, then transcribing to a computer.  “You must write in pen or pencil first.”

Please join us for an hour of lively discussion and sharing of ideas.  Contact me at dammerman@tampabay.rr.com for more information.