I finished reading Le Ly Hayslip's When heaven and earth changed places. It was one of the best books I ever read. My only regret, it took me 11 years to read this book since it was published, and this book was lying in my book shelf for more than a year.
The autobiographical book is centered around the life of an innocent peasant girl from Central Vietnam and the struggles of her family and friends. You can feel the pain of the Vietnamese people who endured the long war especially those from Central Vietnam and their struggle to take sides, the brutal and inhumane Republicans and the clever yet unforgiving Viet Cong, the smartness of the girls, the beasty and human side of the Americans.
The portion that really touched me is when Le Ly, who only 13, was raped by her two Viet Cong accomplices. Her other struggles are equally torturing. I cant imagine if any woman can go through the challenges she overcame. I guess almost every other person in Vietnam went through similar struggles. Now, i understand why the energy source behind the new Vietnam and how it is now becoming such a great economic force.
The text is easy to read and understand, at the same time holds the greatness of a great literary piece. Everyone should read this book and in someway, it will have an impact on his life and alter his outlook of the world, and ofcourse help you to understand Vietnam and the historic Vietnam war.
There is a sequel to this book Child of War, Woman of Peace. Now i have to get my hands on this book, and i hope it wont dissapoint me. And Warner Brothers produced a film Heaven and Earth directed by Oliver Stone based on Le Ly's books. It will be interesting to watch that too.
Following the success of her book, Le Ly Hayslip started charitable causes to bring welfare to the war victims of Vietnam. She is currently the President of The Global Village Foundation and you can donate your contribution via PayPal or buy her books / DVDs, merchandise etc from their website.