- Paperback: 494 pages
- Publisher: Ha-Le Thai (14 December 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0648448622
- ISBN-13: 978-0648448624
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 726 g
- Customer Reviews: 24 customer ratings
Waratah: From the Ashes of the Vietnam War, Grew a Spirit that would not be Stopped Paperback – 14 December 2018
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An enthralling tale of motherhood, war, betrayal, and love.
Sam Cawthorn International Best Selling author and CEO/Founder of Speakers Institute.
The Waratah, is an exceptional piece of writing. Ha-Le's words take the reader on an extraordinary tale of personal tragedy, heartbreak and perseverance. The Waratah is an incredible read oozing with openness and vulnerability. It's pages are filled with adventure, curiosity, and strong links to Vietnamese culture. It's a fantastic read!
Kirsty Salisbury Speaker - Podcaster - Coach & Author - Auckland- New Zealand.
A Poignant and Powerful Tale of Love, Pain, and Growth. Ha-Le's story is incredibly moving and powerful.
The story weaves the past and present together so beautifully.
Jenifer Higgins Author, Teacher- USA
I admired Ha-Le's courage to share her life struggles and the many obstacles she overcame in her life. Her love of life is undeniably contagious.
Muna Nedimovich Project Manager - Finance- Vancouver, BC Canada
Captivating. A story of adversity told with wisdom and humility. I found I couldn't put it down- there were so many inspiring moments!
Lisa Harvey High school teacher- Sydney -Australia
Amazing life journey with full of courage and inspiration!
Vyle Nguyen Senior International Auditing Manager- USA
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Top international reviews
Some of the hardships that people go through to simply try and better their lives, from horrible situations they’ve been thrust into, are just outstanding.
This is one of those tales, of an ordinary citizen stuck in the dysfunctional society that Vietnam was at the time. Escaping Vietnam at that time was far from an easy task and Ha-Le has to risk her life for the chance of a better life. She makes her escape on a decrepit boat heading for Australia. Against all odds she makes it only to find that different troubles also lie in wait for her there.
This is a theme that the book tackles very elegantly and one that I find extremely interesting. The comparative hardships between mental and physical struggles. While it seems at first that the former could never be worse than being stuck in a country where everyday could be your last that is shown to simply not be the case. Sometimes the mental struggles we go through are the hardest of all and overcoming these can be just as much of a struggle as crossing an ocean on a broken boat.
The writing style that is used where we jump in between the present and the past is done well and draws some interesting parallels, which has left me still thinking over the topics that are covered long after finishing the book.
5/5, a book I’d definitely recommend to those interested in the struggles that some people have to go through.
Having experienced difficult circumstances on different occasions, surviving scares of ill-health, among others, Ha-Le determines her daughter, Hong-An shouldn't have to be put through similar experience.
However, Fate plays her hand, bringing Travis into Hong-An's life, and it seems the past would be revisited.
Ha-Le Thai tells a fascinating tale, using strong, descriptive words. From Vietnam to Australia, Ha-Le uses strong language, evoking desire and longing in the reader to be part of the story.
In the beginning, the author explains that she's always wanted to write. Without any doubt, Waratah reveals that Ha-Le couldn't have chosen different. A very interesting story.
When her daughter Hong-An meets her Australian lover and is determined to marry him, things become even more complicated, as Ha Le is now forced to revisit the past she thought she had left behind.
This book is a gripping page turner full of emotions with a fascinating ending. I highly recommend this book.
A book that is written in a very emotional way, extremely raw, that truly brings the story to life to its readers. The author does a brilliant job evoking her past memories and the hardships she has to overcome in order to be herself again and to avoid history to repeat itself.
I did feel, however, that the story itself was somewhat held back by the writing. At times the dialogue and the general prose felt a bit clunky and made it more difficult to read.
It's a true shame it's not completely 100% there because every other element created a fantastic story about struggles, pains, and new beginnings. It's hugely relateable and touching, it's just the prose doesn't reflect the beauty of the story as much as I would've wanted it to.
Still would certainly recommend.
In this memoir, Ha-Le captures the plight of her younger, vulnerable self, set amid the tumultuous era of the Vietnam war. She skillfully captures other pivotal moments in her life—the harrowing escape to Hong Kong as a boat person, an imprisonment, and eventual resettlement in Australia. Her life story is vividly re-told interspersed with the cultural strife revolving around her daughter’s cross-cultural wedding preparations.
This raw, emotionally-charged tale is told with an intense longing for the author to understand how her past colored her present-day reactions to the losses she experienced and an ultimate healing.
What I appreciate the most is the vivid descriptions and the compassion she had for her younger self at various stages, and how she drew her strength. She also skillfully transitions between the past and present throughout.
The only criticism I have is that the ending seems to draw on a little too long. But it’s well-worth the read. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the motivation and background of immigrants and refugees, ESL teachers, those interested in psychological studies, courage, readers of faith, and those interested in the Vietnam War era.
I would (and have been) recommending this book to anyone that has a moment to read.
If you’re looking for a moving memoir by a powerful, down-to-earth author, look no further than Waratah.
For all the books written about the Vietnam War and the country of Vietnam, few have the power of this autobiography of a survivor of that crisis. Ha-Le sets the tone of this memorable book in her Prologue: ‘The first time that my writing was read aloud was when I was a child, in Year Three, This was when I first realized that writing was a connection to other people, a way to evoke emotions, to move them and put into their heads the things already in my head…Through everything that has happened in my life that a burning desire to write never left me. It was smoldering in my heart, keeping itself alive on the glowing embers of my passion, my wish to speak to the hearts of others. The written word is a powerful tool. It connects us, across time and across culture.’
The title of Ha-Le’s memoir – Waratah – is the name of a red mountain flower that instilled a sense of significance, reflecting the spectrum of her memoir. And what a memoir this is. From early childhood in Vietnam, tainted by abuse in a dysfunctional family, through the onset of the Vietnam prelude to the War, the influence of the Viet Cong, the devastation the war brought, the escape via boat to Australia while pregnant, facing the trials of being a refugee, raising a daughter, fighting cancer of the thyroid, the ovaries, and lymphoma, struggling with mother daughter conflicts – all is related with veracity and awe-inspiring empathy for Ha-Le’s determined survival instincts.
From this fine book we learn about the culture of Vietnam, the seldom-discussed tragedies bestowed on the Vietnamese people from all aspects of the war against communism and the sequelae, and from this terrifying background how one brave woman kept faith and survived – and became a successful and important artist. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 19