I Did Not Miss the Boat is the coming-of-age story of an adolescent girl who struggled to help her family’s assimilation into a new country while searching for her own identity. From surviving the vast South China Seas, pirate raids, and uninhabited Indonesian islands to surviving high school and family life, Lea Tran did not experience a typical American upbringing.
When the communists took over Saigon, Tran’s world turned upside down. Together with five hundred others, she and her family left everything they knew in hopes of a better future as “boat people,” part of the mass exodus of refugees from post-war Vietnam.
Being Hoa (a Chinese minority in Vietnam) meant that she had shallow roots in both Chinese and Vietnamese traditions. In coming to America, she and her family grappled with holding onto their heritage, while embracing the new Western culture. Her memoir speaks to the experience of first-generation immigrants and refugees, and what it was like to rebuild their lives in a foreign land.
Through her vivid account of harrowing times, drastically opposite environments, and unparalleled determination, Lea Tran’s inspiring journey from oppressive traditions to self-discovery and liberation will captivate and educate any non-fiction fan.