25+ quotes from Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Quotes from Inside Out & Back Again

Thanhha Lai ·  272 pages

Rating: (30.5K votes)


“Oh, my daughter,
at times you have to fight,
but preferably
not with your fists.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“This year I hope
I truly learn
to fly-kick
not to kick anyone
so much as
to fly.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Mother says,
People share
when they know they have escaped hunger.

Shouldn't people share
because there is hunger?”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Whoever invented English
should have learned
to spell.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“People living on others' goodwill cannot afford political opinions.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Mother tells me,
They tease you
because they adore you.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Paperwork, paperwork with a woman who pats my head while shaking her own. I step back, hating pity, having learned from Mother that the pity giver feels better, never the pity receiver.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“How can we scramble away like rats, without honor, without dignity, when everyone must help rebuild the country?”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Everyone knows the ship could sink, unable to hold the piles of bodies that keep crawling on like raging ants from a disrupted nest. But no one is heartless enough to say stop because what if they had been stopped before their turn?”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Mother warns
how we act today
foretells the whole year”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Why no s for two deer,
but an s for two monkeys?

Brother Quang says
no one knows.

So much for rules!

Whoever invented English should be bitten by a snake.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Black seeds spill like clusters of eyes, wet and crying.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


No, Mr. Johnston doesn't have a horse, nor has he ever ridden one. What kind of a cowboy is he?”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Mostly, I wish I were still smart.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“We glide and I feel as if I'm floating.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Our lives
will twist and twist,
intermingling the old and the new
until it doesn't matter
which is which.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“She was promised to Father at five. They married at sixteen, earlier than expected. Everyone’s future changed upon learning the name H Chí Minh.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“I step back,
hating pity,

having learned
from Mother that
the pity giver
feels better,
never the pity receiver.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“People share when they know they have escaped hunger. Shouldn’t people share because there is hunger?”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“I wish
our cowboy could be persuaded
to buy a horse,

that I could be invisible
until I can talk back”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“I need the lessons.
I’m hiding in class
by staring at my shoes.
I’m hiding during lunch
in the bathroom,
eating hard rolls
saved from dinner.
I’m hiding during outside time
in the same bathroom.
I’m hiding after school
until Brother Khôi
rides up to
our secret corner.
With Vu Lee
I squat in
weight on legs,
back straight
arms at my sides,
fingers relaxed,
eyes everywhere at once

I’m practicing to be seen.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“MiSSS SScott
points to the numbers
along the wall.
I count up to twenty.
The class claps
on its own.
I’m furious,
unable to explain
I already learned
fractions and how to purify water.
So this is what dumb feels like. I hate, hate,
hate it.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Oh, my daughter, at times you have to fight, but preferably not with your fists.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“I can't make my brothers
go live elsehwere,
but I can
hide their sandals.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


“Some verbs
switch all over
just because.

I am
She is
They are
He was
They were


Would be simpler
if English
and live
were logical.”
― Thanhha Lai, quote from Inside Out & Back Again


About the author

Thanhha Lai
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