When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

It is said that in war heaven and earth change places not once, but many times. When Heaven and Earth Changed Places is the haunting memoir of a girl on the verge of womanhood in a world turned upside down. The youngest of six children in a close-knit Buddhist family, Le Ly Hayslip was twelve years old when U.S. helicopters langed in Ky La, her tiny village in central Vietnam. As the government and Viet Cong troops fought in and around Ky La, both sides recruited children as spies and saboteurs. Le Ly was one of those children. Before the age of sixteen, Le Ly had suffered near-starvation, imprisonment, torture, rape, and the deaths of beloved family members-but miraculously held fast to her faith in humanity. And almost twenty years after her escape to Ameica, she was drawn inexorably back to the devastated country and family she left behind. Scenes of this joyous reunion are interwoven with the brutal war years, offering a poignant picture of vietnam, then and now, and of a courageous woman who experienced the true horror of the Vietnam War-and survived to tell her unforgettable story.(Amazon.com)
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When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

Field of Interest/Specialty: Languages
Posted On: 09/17/2017

Le Ly Hayslip's autobiography, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, is a must-read for anyone interested in grief and healing. She shares her torturous past and heartbreaking love stories with the world during a time of complete devastation for her homeland of Vietnam and the most vulnerable time is a young woman's life. She is resilient, fierce, and clever.
She was born and lived in Central Vietnam, a geographically significant location for her story. While trying to lead the quiet, peasant life in the farmlands of such a gorgeous landscape she and her neighbors were distracted and recruited by multiple forces the North and South armies as well as the extremes of social class.
While it is difficult to grasp the continuous terror of her life, it is challenging to remember how young and vulnerable she was. She loses her brother and father to war. She loses versions of herself to create new dreams and possibilities for her children and her new life.
This novel is an essential read for anyone interested in the psychology of war, women's studies, or travel.

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places Review

Field of Interest/Specialty: East Asia
Posted On: 07/05/2017

Le Ly Hayslip's autobiography tells her story of how she went through a lot in her childhood at the hands of American soldiers and Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. She was raped and tortured and had her father and brother die due to the war. She marries a GI and moves to the States until she comes back to Vietnam to face her past. It is a chilling story of the pains of war a family goes through and the story of resilience in the midst of such horror.
It is difficult to say that I enjoyed such a sad, horrifying story, but her ability to find meaning in even the most negative circumstances gave me hope and a new perspective on the human will to survive and forgive.
It gives the Vietnam perspective that is usually overlooked when Americans learn and focus on the Vietnam War. It is usually difficult to have sympathy for the enemy, but she is able to make the reader/viewer have empathy and feel sorry for her.
It has made me want to see the countryside and hope to see the beauty of the countryside before the Vietnam War devastated the landscape.
It does a good job weaving the history of Vietnam into the war period and show the devastating effect of the war on a typical Vietnamese family during the period.