Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Ru by Kim Thuy

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3/5

Ru is an autobiographical novel, written in vignettes. Thuy recreates flashbacks of life as a young girl running away from communist Saigon, living in a desolate Malaysian refugee camp, and finally settling in Quebec. Her parents feared for their children’s lives, and uprooted them from a comfortable lifestyle to living in extreme poverty. Their lives were shattered, turned upside down, and they were a family on the run. As an adult, settled in Quebec, her life is still filled with obstacles, raising two boys and giving special attention to one who has autism. Thuy questions her parent’s actions, and wonders if they did what was best for the family. Thuy recognizes that her past has made her the person she is today. She can handle some of the most difficult situations. Ru is about life, hardships, and memories.

I enjoyed Ru, the story is powerful and engaging but I couldn’t really connect with the story. The story is quite short, and not told in chronological order. It felt a little disjointed to me, and more about style than story. The vignettes cover a wide range of emotions, and circumstances. RU is a quick read, and definitely worth the time. The book was originally written in French and has gained a lot of attention. It wasn’t really my type of book, I really like developed novels. If you’re willing to try something different, and immigrant stories interest you, I would suggest this one.


  1. First of all, I love that cover! It's so soft and pretty:)

    Second, I usually have trouble with books that skip around in time, I tend to get lost in the shuffle and then get all disoriented because I can't figure out where I am in relation to the events I've already read:) I'm easily confused O_o. Really nice review Jennifer!

  2. It's too bad it's disjointed because that sounds like quite a story.

  3. I prefer to read stories that are lengthy and cohesive, so I think I might have trouble with this book, though the synopsis does entice me. I am sorry that you weren't really able to connect with it either. Thanks for sharing your candid perspective with us though!

  4. Though I'm a fan of flashback stories I still kind of need them to be in some kind of order. Otherwise it gets too confusing and then I get frustrated. The story sounds interesting though. I'm curious about the motivations behind her parents decision to uproot their lives.

  5. Sounds like a good book in terms of style, but usually I'm looking for a more cohesive story as well.

  6. I don't usually read autobiograhy's but I guess you have to make exception sometimes. Ru sounds great. The flashbacks stories is a plus. Great review.

  7. I absolutely loved this book. I wish that it had been longer, though. I'm sure there were a lot more stories that she could have added about her escape from Saigon and subsequent move to Quebec. Hope she writes a sequel.

    Cleo Rogers (medlanding.com)