Small Bamboo 

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       June 7, 2014

 

Author  Tracy Vo

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 978-1-74331-651-3
Publisher:         Allen & Unwin
Release Date:    

Website:    http://www.allenandunwin.com 

Tracy Vo’s family are immigrants, having arrived in Australia many years ago on a leaky boat as just some of the many fleeing from Vietnam during the horrific days after the fall of Saigon.

 As she steps out of her life as a respected and much loved member of the Channel Nine news team in Sydney, she recounts her and her families story with warmth, love and compassion, and in doing so gives a rare glimpse into the life of a family who have rebuilt their lives in a country far from their own culture, in a society and country that is so very different.

Her family are amongst the many whom helped coin the phrase ‘boat people’ during the 1970’s as  her parents and 10 other family members set out to try and find a new life away from the devastation that had overtaken their country .

Selling off everything of value along the way they eventually found themselves at sea in a boat that was leaky to say the least, with hope in their hearts that surely they would make it safely to somewhere before the boat sank.

That place happened to be Australia and the life they and their family have gone on to establish makes remarkable reading.

Tracy’s father, number eighteen in a family of 24 children, twelve of whom are still alive as she was writing her and her families story gives her both a rich and diverse background. Each of the uncles, often referred to by number, have harrowing tales to tell of life in and during the Vietnam War, then the fall of Saigon, the re-education camps where several were forced to go, some for weeks and others for years, portraying a picture  that has perhaps been overlooked in the years since, makes compelling reading.

The Vo family gave thanks for their survival and set out to make a new life in Australia; one that has seen them prosper through hard work, grit and determination to succeed.

This determination to succeed has made a little girl who suffered from bullying and the belief she was not good enough overcome self-doubt to go on to become a respected journalist and reporter for many years.

As her parents health was deteriorating she realised on a rare visit back to her home town of Perth, it was time for her to return on a more permanent basis, and once again become a close member of her vast and extended family.

Told with love, warmth and great detail this is a journey you will enjoy joining as you spend a little time inside a Vietnamese/Australian family.