All the Broken Pieces


All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg tells that story of Matt Pin who was flown out of Vietnam during the Vietnam war and adopted and raised by an American family. The story follows Matt journey into trying to deal with the horrors he witnessed as a small child and also dealing with the prejudice of the time period where it was not always a good deal to be Vietnamese during the time of the Vietnam War.

The novel is written in free verse form so it is a quick read. However, if you choose to read it quickly, then you will miss the power of the words on the page. Two phrases from the novel stand out in my mind for probably personal reasons of my own, but I read this book two times to make sure I really grasped the emotional wreckage of this boy trying to make sense of life as a seventh grader with the baggage of being a war victim.

“Words are messy,
but sometimes,
words are all you’ve got
to show what matters most.”

“You’re good, he says,
but music is not simply
playing notes
You have to play
the silence too.”

This is not my usual type of book, but it was so well written that I actually cared about Matt at baseball and piano practice. This one just makes you appreciate the lives we have and makes you stop for a moment to think about the families who have loved ones in battle right now. I promise you that this book will win some awards before this year is over.

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