I’m very excited to offer a book drawing for The Ground Kisser.
The Ground Kisser is the memoir of Thanh Duong Boyer co-written with Lisa Worthey Smith. It tells the exciting yet heart-breaking story of one of the Vietnamese boat children. It’s a story representing many people during that tragic time. With Communism breathing down the back’s of Thanh’s family and their wealth and freedom wiped out, Thanh’s parents had to make an agonizing decision. Without enough gold to pay for boat passage for all eight family members, they had to choose whether to stay together and face whatever came in Vietnam, or risk separating the family to give a child a chance to survive….
Read this excerpt from the book and then find out how you can enter the drawing to possibly win a copy of The Ground Kisser.
The Ground Kisser, chapter 1
I turned at the stairwell and made my way up the ladder-like wooden steps. Once alone upstairs, I unfolded my hand and found blistered fingers. I should have listened to my parents’ warning about the shell fragments.
I did listen to them.
I didn’t obey them, but I listened.
Too late now. It would be much less painful to deal with the pain of the burns than to go through the shame of revealing my stubborn disobedience.
After I washed the stench of smoke from my skin, soot from my clothes, and tears from my face, I turned and caught a breeze from our window that cooled my tender skin. I ran my good fingers through my dripping wet hair and let the warm waft of air flow through it.
Outside the window on our balcony/patio, our freshly washed clothes danced lightly in the breeze while they dried. Did they not know? How could they possibly dance at such a time? Would I ever cleanse my mind of the scene I witnessed that day? Would there ever be a day when I danced in the breeze again, as they did?
As clean and dry as I could manage, I went back downstairs. At least with bombs this near to us, I wouldn’t have to return to school that day. If I were lucky, the next either. When I passed by the “Dương Home” sign on the wall, I lifted my droopy shoulders and straightened my back a little taller—proud of our family name, our standing, and our home.
I tucked my feet under me, sat on the floor and watched my siblings play quietly around me, unaware of what had happened at school. The before-and-after pictures of the snack-maker family and their home replayed in my mind. My good fingers twirled the hem of my fresh shirt while I searched for them in every replay. Were their faces in the smoke? Maybe they stood to the side. Everyone looked the same covered with ash.
No matter how many times I reran the scene, I couldn’t find them in the crowd. The clear image of the charred pit that displaced their home forced me to accept the truth. Tears rushed up. I blinked hard to force them back—only the weak agonize over the dead. I took a deep breath and sat in silent respect for the loss of the day, and the survival of the day. Incense would burn for the snack-makers in the morning.
Sundown arrived. We ate our meal. The crickets chirped their nighttime songs outside our open windows. Birds settled in the guava tree outside our balcony window to nest for the night. We pulled out the mosquito netting from its place and spread it out. My hands and feet went through the motions of all our usual activities.
My mind refused to comply. Over and over it replayed the image of the snack-makers waving and smiling at me for the last time, and the chaos of flames and smoke that took them away.
Would my normal ever include joy again? I tried to wash the scene away, or at least any telltale tears, with another shower before bedtime.
Here’s more information about this compelling story:
The Ground Kisser, a multiple award-winning memoir of one of the Vietnamese boat people, peers into Thanh’s idyllic childhood as a “spoiled little rich girl,” the poverty and danger after the fall of Saigon.
The odds of survival were bleak whether they stayed together as a family or tried to escape. Her parents, desperate to give the oldest of their six children a chance to live, used their remaining hidden gold to buy passage for Thanh, twelve years old, and one of her sisters, ten years old, on an overloaded riverboat headed to Australia. Pirates ended that dream, and tried to take their lives.
Her astounding courage, dedication to her family, faith, and her love of her new homeland, the United States, prompted Barry Farber to dub her a ‘ground kisser.’
Thanh speaks to veterans’ groups to express her profound gratitude to the American military, especially those who came to Vietnam, in their darkest hours.
Thanh was assisted telling her story by author Lisa Worthey Smith.
Lisa Worthey Smith, long time Bible student and teacher, writes stories of faith, hope, and love. Her first two books, Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird and The Wisdom Tree, include Bible studies. Her most recent books, The Ground Kisser and Unsung Heroes take a look at the Vietnam War. One from the perspective of living in the war-torn country, and the other an overview of how the US slipped from “I’ll do my part” to “I’ll do my own thing,” so much that the Vietnam War veterans and casualties were ignored, even unwelcome upon their return home.
President of her local Word Weavers, Lisa and her husband are empty-nesting in north Alabama. She spends her days writing with her ever-present cup of Earl Grey, and tending her hummingbird garden.
Want to win this book? Make a comment on my blog post’s comment section. I’ll pick the winner at random on Saturday evening, July 11th, 2020. UPDATE: Winner is Meghan! Congratulations!
Here’s how to contact Lisa: