When I was 12, I didn't think I would get past ninth grade. When I was 14, I didn't think I would live to my twentieth birthday. For me to be here today is a dream beyond my comprehension. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War's aftermath, this memoir tells the story of Trinh Do, a boy fighting for survival in newly unified communist Vietnam. Trinh Do was born in Saigon, in 1964. His father, a soldier in the South Vietnam Army, was taken to a re-education camp after the communist victory in 1975. His family was thrown out of their home, and Do took care of his mother and younger brothers. He struggled to stay in school; because of his father, Do faced constant prejudice from the communist administration. He was expelled for refusing to betray his classmates in 1978; soon after, his mother arranged for him to escape Vietnam in a fishing boat. After a perilous journey, he landed in Malaysia, where he spent six months in a refugee camp, and then made his way to the United States. His parents attempted a similar escape four years later and were lost to the South China Sea. This memoir tells the story of Do's generation coming to age in a brutal period of Vietnam's history.