|Cambodian refugees have come to the US after the Vietnam War. They try to keep as many customs in the US as they had in Cambodia. Their children, being born in the US, do not understand the customs nor the silence the parents keep about the past. When they ask why they are to do something, the adults don't explain and there is hurt feelings on both sides. Grace is never told about the past. She comes to know it and then understands why her mother and grandmother never told her.
I found this interesting. Being born in the US, I never gave a thought about talking of the past. We do it a lot. After reading this I understand why my grandparents did not tell their children of the hardships of the old country. I also understood Grace's side because if no one will answer her questions, not only of her family's past but of the culture they follow within the Cambodian culture, how can she learn so she does not offend others. The characters of the book who help Grace teach her a lot about the past and her culture as well as the whys. This is a good read.