Here is one of my favorite passages from the book. When she sees her mother crying because her grandmother in Laos passed away (the last time
I realized then that my mother had left her mother, the woman who had loved her best in the entire world, to walk with my father toward this life with us. I felt worried that perhaps I'd been selfish. I felt sorry for the decisions a Hmong woman faced, the decisions that this Hmong woman - who I had never seen as such, simply because she was my mother - had made. Why does love in a war always mean choosing? Her mother or my father? The country that gave birth to her or the one that would give birth to me? The little girl she had been or the woman she would become? For the first time, I knew the sadness of choice in my mother's life. I had a glimpse of the world she was working hard to protect me from, to keep me young in, this education and pursuit of a life she never had a chance at. I have the freedom to stand strong in the wake of love and to perhaps choose my own mother - instead of a man.