Review Blog

Feb 18 2008

Noodle Pie by Ruth Starke

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Omnibus Books, 2008 (Age 11+) Andy and his father are flying to Vietnam, Andy to see the place of his father's birth for the first time, his father, Tuoc, to see his family and friends for the first time since escaping after the Vietnam War. Through Andy's eyes the reader sees the country from an Australian point of view, and as his eyes become more attuned to things Vietnamese, the reader too, is drawn into the rituals and customs of this very different way of life. Andy makes many mistakes. He is unable to see that the family restaurant is a successful and thriving business, full of Vietnamese customers from the neighbourhood. Instead he sees a small smelly place where people squat to eat, where the food is prepared in conditions less than savory and the money paid laughable. Befriending his cousin, they hatch a plan to increase the earnings of the restaurant, and produce a flyer which they then give to tourists. The resultant influx of customers causes some problems with the neighbours. But all is resolved, and Tuoc takes his son out to explain some home truths, and open his eyes further to the debt owed by him to his family. Ruth Starke is able to distill complex issues into an understandable and neatly resolved story which is at once engaging and informative. Fran Knight

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