Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book Review: Dragon House by John Schors

Dragon House Dragon House by John Shors

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shors has written about India (Beneath a Marble Sky), World War II and the Japanese (Beneath a Burning Sea), and now about street children in Vietnam. I very much enjoyed this book, although I think I enjoyed the first two books of his I read better. They were both more ambitious and sweeping.

Shors brought Vietnam, one of the few Asian countries I haven't visited, to life for me. He paints a compassionate picture of the neglected children on the street and two broken Americans who arrive in Vietnam to open a center for street children.

My one regret about this book was that it starts out with Iris, but as the plot changes we get to know the least about Iris out of all of the central characters in the book. I would have liked to know more about her, what made her tick, and what shaped her into the woman she is today.

This book's plot and style were less complex than Schors' first two, and the writing style was much simpler. At times, some of the authors' emphasis on things (such as mentioning Noah's prosthesis constantly) got tiresome...much like I got annoyed with JK Rowling when she referred to Voldemort's voice as "high and cold" every time Voldemort appeared.

The book prompted me to search Google Images for photos of Vietnam--Ho Chi Minh City and Halong Bay in particular. Schors illustrates how family and love stretch broader than our blood relatives--across generations and across cultural and language divides. I found the story to be heartwarming. If you are interested in southeast Asia, you would enjoy this book. I'm looking forward to Schors' next book.

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