Book Reviews

Review: The Principal’s Daughter by Russ Katz

The fact that this novel is based on a true story elevates it from a moving tale to something far more poignant. The Principle’s Daughter looks at a snippet of Kim’s life as a South Vietnamese girl growing up amidst the Vietnam War. Kim’s experience of her homeland and family being torn apart by war is emotional and supported by snippets of other family members’ lives. Their lives are interwoven with her experiences and emphasize other aspects of her family’s struggle, such as the re-education camps. She not only experiences fear, sadness, and loss, but also everything in between. Her life is full of emotion, ranging from her whirlwind marriage, to the loss of various family members, to her public humiliation.

Katz paints a picture of a time forgotten and an abandoned land. His writing is both factual, but also emotional and he is able to convey emotion without passing judgement. It is both a learning experience, and an unforgettable story. Through Kim’s perspective, we are given insight into her struggles and experience with suffering some of us have never begun to experience. These fragments display her youthful innocence and naivety as well as her crushing grief and fear of, and for, the future. This story explores complicated emotions that range from hopeful optimism to severe doubt.

Kim is a resilient soul whose dreams are destroyed and it is up to her bravery and hope to remake them. This is not a typical story and it is one that will both teach you something about Vietnam and touch your heart. Rich in description and food references, the world comes alive and while we will never be able to know these experiences, we begin to get a glimmer of these moments: both good and bad. Kim’s story is not one of the worst and she experiences many setbacks and successes, but her life is intriguing and gives meaning to the concept of perseverance and new beginnings.

I would encourage you to read this book if you are interested in Vietnam, the Vietnam War, or a true story about a remarkable young woman and her quest for freedom. You can buy the book here.

Comment below what your favorite based on a true story book is!


Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

Book image from here.

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