Straining Forward: Minh Phuong Towner’s Story: One woman’s journey from oppression to redemption in the wake of the Vietnam War by Michelle Layer Rahal [REVIEW]


In the early morning hours of January 31, 1968, New Year fireworks gave way to gunfire and bombs. Eleven-year-old Minh watched in horror as her father and two siblings were gunned down by the Vietcong in their backyard. Though she escaped the bullets that night, prison, torture, and rape would follow. The tragedy of her childhood would haunt Minh for the rest of her life and lead her to question God’s very existence. Why had He turned His back? What had she done to deserve such punishment? Was she beyond redemption? Minh’s dramatic story of escape from war-torn Vietnam, as well as dangerous and unhealthy relationships throughout her life, is told with raw sincerity. Straining Forward is a riveting, spiritual journey of hope and healing that reminds readers that we are all more than victims of circumstance and that even in the loneliest and most desolate moments, we are never truly alone.


This shockingly honest story reads like a novel. We have all heard about the plight of refugees but this book really personalized the experience. We can learn so much about ourselves by really listening to the struggles of others.


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