Reviews

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong

reyygguk's review

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emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

jenniferszhu's review

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emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

bad_bookworm_h's review

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5.0

I still can't get over the beauty of this book.

zoegrooms's review

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challenging emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

Wow. The writing was beautiful, definitely could be a 5 star in another time in my life but just pure enjoyment/vibes is 3.25....

kushal_r's review

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3.0

3.5

mori's review

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emotional slow-paced
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

snowreo's review

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4.0

i truly don’t know where to begin or how to review this novel. it was a hard read for sure, but one that was so incredibly rewarding. emotion drips from every single page, telling the story of the sacrifices of a single mother, of generational abuse, of a war-ravaged history, of addiction and poverty and sexuality, of a boy just trying to reach his mother and truly see her. have her truly see him.

it touched me so deeply that i don’t think i can even attempt to give this a full review. i don’t think any language i possess can do this novel justice. instead, i will share with you some of the quotes i found that made me feel most deeply.

- i was trying to break free. because freedom, i am told, is nothing but the distance between the hunter and its prey.”

- i am writing to reach you—even if each word i put down is one word further from where you are.

- what is a country but a life-sentence?

- when does a war end? when can i say your name and have it mean only your name and not what you left behind?

- maybe a survivor is the last one to come home, the final monarch that lands on a branch already weighted with ghosts.

- to love something, then, is to name it after something so worthless it might be left untouched—and alive.

- the cruelest walls are made of glass, ma. i had the urge to break through the pane and leap out the window.”

- ma, to speak in our mother tongue is to speak only partially in vietnamese, but entirely in war.

- ma. you once told me that memory is a choice. but if you were god, you’d know it’s a flood.

- did you ever feel colored-in when a boy found you with his mouth?

- sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.

- in vietnamese, the word for missing someone and remembering them is the same: nhớ. sometimes, when you ask me over the phone, con nhớ mẹ không?, i flinch, thinking you meant, do you remember me? i miss you more than i remember you.

- all this time i told myself we were born from war–but i was wrong, ma. we were born from beauty. let no one mistake us for the fruit of violence–but the violence, having passsed through the fruit, failed to spoil it.

- if, relative to the history of our planet, an individual life is so short, a blink of an eye, as they say, then to be gorgeous, even from the day you’re born to the day you die, is to be gorgeous only briefly.

shemily7125's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

rebekah_florence's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

lovely and stunning and heartbreaking.

sarahmarieanne's review

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2.0

Good book, amazing writing. Not something I’d usually read but I love the things I’ve learnt of Vietnamese culture.