Under the Wings of a Good Luck Phoenix: Memoir of an American Girl in Saigon 1963-64 (Paperback)
Under the Wings of a Good Luck Phoenix is the testament of the friendship between a young girl and a Vietnamese who taught her that life should never be taken for granted.
Kathy Connor will need more than luck to get out of Viet Nam alive, but it's a good place to start. Under the Wings of a Good Luck Phoenix is a compelling story about a twelve-year-old American girl living in Saigon, Viet Nam from 1963 to 1964. It is a time of change, not just for Kathy as she begins her journey into adolescence, but also for the world around her. The Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement are raging. The deaths of a Buddhist monk, Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, and President John F. Kennedy hang heavily on the American conscience. The Connor family arrived in Saigon two weeks before the Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, lit himself on fire. She was in Saigon when Ngo Dinh Diem was overthrown and murdered in the November 1 coup. She was shocked and dismayed to hear on the Armed Forces Radio the announcement of President Kennedy's death.
Kathy's first-person narration captures her progression from an innocent girl to a wiser self-aware young woman with the help of a Vietnamese servant and a lucky pendant embossed with a Vietnamese phoenix, a sign of peace and a symbol of understanding.
There are laugh-out-loud moments that lighten the many poignant ones when Kathy survives cholera epidemics, a bomb explosion in the American theater full of women and children, and daily terrorist threats by the Viet Cong.
With the help of a Vietnamese servant, twelve-year-old Kathy learns the lessons of history and how they are sadly repeated by Americans who only want to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. Readers who enjoyed The Diary of Ann Frank and I am Malala will admire the young girl's brave determination to cherish each day because "there are no guarantees" for tomorrow.
Out of the ashes of war rose a young woman who learned the value of life.