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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Thuy Rocco's The Last Surviving Child is a story of grief, survival and hardship. War ravages Vietnam and people are fleeing in droves. And as the Communists emerge victorious, Thuy's father, fearing certain death, leaves the country on a small boat with his three sons and a daughter. He leaves behind a pregnant wife who has to follow later but as fate would have it, the boat capsizes, leaving her alone with their last surviving child. What follows is a shocking tale that finds mother and child on a boat to Thailand. Surviving the dangerous trip, life as refugees in a camp awaits them until they are allowed to live in a strange country, the United States of America, where they try to make sense of life itself.
The Last Surviving Child, a memoir by Thuy Rocco, is proof that the human spirit endures. It is heartbreaking to imagine that these events are real and that the story rings true for many Vietnamese boat people or refugees. Thuy Rocco's life experiences surely bring out her strengths and flaws, and while these experiences are extraordinary, the reader can still form a strong connection with her. Told from a unique perspective, Thuy Rocco's story manages to be both funny and introspective. As an infant, she leaves behind her country and reluctantly embraces the American way of life. Although it would seem like she is making the best out of it, there is just simply no way she can escape her culture and the hazy memory of a family she never met in her life.