War in Inside Out and Back Again | Spoiler-Free Review

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

5 Star Rating System 3 stars

Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Thanhha Lai
Published: February 2011
Publisher: HaperCollins
Pages: 228 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

This was really good! The book is entirely written in prose which makes it an incredibly fast read. This was an amazingly well-done look into the emotional trauma and challenges of starting again in a new country.

Inside Out and Back Again

This book is the story of Vietnamese refugees making their way to the USA to escape their country after the impacts of the Vietnam War. It’s told by one of the children in a family, a young girl, who has several older brothers.

The story is beautiful and honest and captured well through the eyes of a child. I loved the descriptions of the family’s home back in Vietnam and the traditions and routines that they held. I thought the progressive and gradual changes to their lives from the trickle-down effect of war was done well too.

What I Liked

The thing I really enjoyed about this book was the way it was told. I thought the narrator’s voice came across really well and was captivating. Books written in prose are not my usual cup of tea but sometimes they really help to emphasise all the right parts in a story.

I’ve also never read anything at all on Vietnamese refugees from the Vietnam war so this was an interesting if brief look into that. The trials and difficulties of the young girl to fit in in her new school, avoid abuse from her neighbours and in learning a new and vastly different language to her own were all painted in a very colourful picture through her storytelling.


This is a short and wonderful read that I polished off in one day. Being told from a child’s perspective things are kept simple and nothing is too confronting. I’d certainly recommend it to you if you fancy a dip into some light historical fiction or if you want to experience a prose book done well.

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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~


One thought on “War in Inside Out and Back Again | Spoiler-Free Review

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