Saigon USA is a novel, but is more true than not. It’s about Vietnamese boat people who immigrated to the United States. The story is set in 1990. Callie O’Neil is an English Second Language teacher at night and a middle school English teacher in the day. She inadvertently becomes involved when Tran, the only Vietnamese student in school, is victimized by bullies. Callie’s relationship extends to Tran’s family, which leads to romance and difficult decisions.
Callie’s adult students pour out their lives in their memoirs. Cam, one of the best writers, invites Callie to her family’s reunion where multi generational Vong family members weave a colorful pattern of their Vietnamese pasts and American presents.
Some are bitter, some confused, many are hopeful and thriving in their adopted country. Saigon USA delves into the hearts, hopes, pasts and futures of an American family—one whose older generation holds firmly to their Vietnamese roots; a middle generation with one foot in each country; and the youngest who are thoroughly American.