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Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches

From Saigon to Texas


Oanh Ngo Usadi (View Bio)
Paperback: O&O Press, 2018.

Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches

In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, a young girl and her family were exiled from city living in Saigon to the countryside of Vietnam and ultimately escaped to a small town in Texas. This quietly affecting immigrant memoir will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Through each traumatic transition, Oanh Ngo Usadi retains her optimism as she and her family adapt to new environments and cultures in their journey to become Americans.

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Finalist in Memoir/Autobiography for the 2018 BookLife Prize awarded by Publishers Weekly. One of six finalists and the only nonfiction work.

"In dark times like these, the ability to find what binds us is vital. In Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches, Oanh Ngo Usadi brings empathy and vivid storytelling to her young life as a Vietnamese girl fleeing the country with her family after the Vietnam War. At once an ode to the beauty of her home country and a harrowing depiction of the horrors of leaving it for an uncertain new life, Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches is the sort of book we need right now, to remind us that for all our differences, we share love, fear, and the hope of redemption. As Usadi and her family slowly adjust to their new lives in Texas, it becomes clear that theirs is a quintessentially American story." — Julie Powell, Judge, 2018 BookLife Prize, Publishers Weekly  (Read the full review)

"Plot: This memoir is gripping and well crafted. Prose: Beautifully written, this powerful memoir uses concise, deliberate language to convey the family's emotions and struggles as they experience triumphs and setbacks in their quest to stay together, sustain themselves, and acclimate. Originality: This story of perseverance, resourcefulness, and determination is original and important." — 2018 BookLife Prize, Publishers Weekly  (Read the full review)

"Heartrending and funny.... Ngo Usadi writes poignantly about her life before and after the fall of Saigon to the communist north, from the Mekong Delta to refugee camps in Malaysia and the Philippines, to her ultimate resettlement as an immigrant in the small Texas town of Port Arthur." — Voice of America  (Read the full review)

"An engaging tale of coming to America and becoming an American." — James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal

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