I Begin My Life All Over is an oral history of 36 real-life strangers in a strange land, an intimate study of the immigrant experience in contemporary America.
“Faderman has collected oral histories from individuals ranging from adults who escaped through the jungles of Laos, to the American-born teenagers anxious to negotiate a balance between the American life they see on television and the scars of their familial and ethnic history.” -Hanya Yanagihara, A Magazine
“Faderman supplies invaluable historical context, told succinctly and well, for the narratives. She also weaves brief personal anecdotes throughout the book and draws parallels between the Hmongs’ experiences and those of her own life as a first-generation American and of her mother’s, a Jewish immigrant.” -Jeanne F. Brooks, The San Diego Union-Tribune
“That these immigrants have endured so much and lived to tell the tale is almost more than the average reader can comprehend. I Begin My Life All Over belongs on everyone’s reading list; this is truly a book to be grateful for.” -Gish Jen, author of Typical American and Mona in the Promised Land
“The root of the book is Hmong individuals’ personal, true-life stories, and they make for powerful reading.” -Jaime Meyer, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Faderman’s inclusion of the Hmong’s history in Laos and China . . . deepens our awareness of the obstacles they’ve overcome in adjusting to their new country. This enriching book fulfills the author’s aim ‘to capture [the Hmongs’] living voices, and to make those voices resound in the reader’s ears.’“
“Lillian Faderman and Ghia Xiong have compiled this collection of oral histories with care and sensitivity. Readers who share their communities with Hmong refugees could learn much about their neighbors—and perhaps about themselves as well—from the varied and compelling viewpoints it presents.” -Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down