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Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers' Favorite
A Biography of Linda by Clyde Hoch is an intense biography of a young Chinese girl, La Fong, her family and their struggles during the changing times of the mid-1900s. Came the Chinese revolution and La Fong and her family had to escape from 'Red China' by ship, bribing their way to neighboring Vietnam. Finally settling in Saigon, they subsisted in the lowest strata of society, with the entire family working to survive, including the 8-year-old La Fong, whose name was changed to 'Tran' due to strange reasons prevailing in those troubled times. The travails of her life included merciless beatings at the hands of her mother. The girl child was a burden who had no place in Chinese society, except to serve without demur till she departed after marriage. The son, and also an adopted daughter, were treated well according to custom!
Clyde Hoch has brilliantly emphasized the evolving culture, which certainly makes this book 'a mirror of the times' as all fine literature should. There is too much to mention in this short review, but consider this quote from the book about how she got her third name: "The American Colonel said, 'I don't know your Vietnamese names, and I don't want to know.' He handed each of them a name tag with their new names on them. Tran's new name tag said 'Linda.' She would now be known as Linda from that day." She journeyed on to her amazing life in America, which is a truly inspiring story. I reward this great biography a resounding 5 stars due to its compelling passion and intensity, as well as the wonderful messages of courage, perseverance and philanthropy contained in it. I read it in one sitting! Highly recommended!