Only the heart

The Vietnamese people in only the heart had many difficult hardships to go through in order to get to Australia. The book showed how all the different characters responded to these hardships in there own ways. I will talk about the problems before they left Vietnam and how that made them escape. To the extent in which they succeeded and what helped them succeed. And of coarse the problems they had along the way.

The Vo family was living in a village in Vietnam during the war and when communism started to come into action. And it had terrible affects on the people living there. They had to adapt or escape. The Vo family choose to escape. Toan?s father had been taken by the military police because he was involved with the Vietnamese army. Toan, linh and Phuong were the children in the two families they had to learn quickly what was an acceptable thing to say and what was not. It was hard for them because they didn't know why they couldn?t act in a certain way nor do a certain thing. These children just had to rely on their parents until they got older. They left because the war had brought communism; they were scared and didn?t know what to expect. They didn?t know weather they could live close to like they lived before or if everything would change, there were many answerable questions and they wanted to get away from it. And after their Grandfather got an assimilation speaker put on his shop roof that was the last straw. They had a big trip ahead of them.

So the families escaped on a filthy boat. The book describes the terrible conditions on the boat quite well I think. The families and everyone on the boat were scared of getting caught, if they did they would be straight back to Vietnam problem in a re- education camp. They were running out of food and fresh water when their first serious hardship came. Pirates found their boat sailing toward Malaysia and boarded it. The main leader Pirate wanted to take Phuong with him because she was beautiful but Mai her mother persuaded him to take her instead. It was a very motherly caring thing to do, but I think any mother would have done that. Well, Mai ends up killing herself because she has no hope with the Pirates. Phuong went through this stage of denial, she took to caring her mother shirt around and she was very upset. When they finally got to Malaysia the Malay had realised that they were refugees and they didn?t want them. A patrol boat came after them as they were sailing in for shore. The Boat starting firing at them so they jumped of the boat and swam. The sea was rough and many people died, nearly including Toan. The book gave the perspective of a Woman standing on shore watching the refugee boat coming in, she saw Toan drowning and went in and saved him. That most the most exciting time I believe.

When in Malaysia Phuogh got involving with a gang leader named Cang. All the locals knew Cang as the mean tough gang leader and I?m sure he was. But the thing about Cang is that he gave his live to save Phuongs. There was a fire in the camp they were staying in before the got shipped off to Australia. They didn?t enjoy the camp that they stayed in, in Malaysia, they had seen to many fences for to long and needed to feel free. Back in Vietnam they would feel very far from free. Communism has no time for the individual only the whole Government or country as one body. Toan met Kiew, someone he could really talk to and share his experiences with. He lived Kiew and they got on well. Cang tried to take Phuoug?s eyes off her mother and to help her concentrate on what is ahead of her, but never really succeeded. Toan became interested in movies and movie making and when in Australia he learnt English and went into that Business. He was able to make money for their family to succeed in Australia.

In Australia years later Toan had married Kieu and had a son, and then moved back to Ho Chi Minh City. Toan didn?t feel home in Vietnam, probably because