Why did I love this book?
Ocean Vuong’s poetic quality of writing stunned me. His beautiful use of language captured the mutual attraction between two lonely teenage boys who become lovers, coupled with the pain and complexity of their lives. I felt the novel stepped away from the personal torment and anguish often seen in books about teenage same-sex love, though it didn’t refrain from acknowledging the impact of the Vietnam war, abuse, poverty, drugs, and dysfunctional family dynamics. I liked the book because the boys’ love and desire for one another had the power to temporarily circumnavigate their differences, personal torments, and sexual boundaries. The flashbacks Little Dog (the protagonist), had about his family and his mother’s memories of Vietnam were also haunting.