... unsentimental yet deeply moving ... Ostensibly an immigrant success story, Tran's narrative power lies in its nuanced celebration of filial devotion that withstands the enormous cost of the American dream ... Tran's memoir is unique among Vietnamese American narratives in the sense that her identity crisis was not about liberating herself from her parents' past but her unwillingness to remove herself from their suffering ... In the end, Tran's empathy and her parents' appreciation of her filial love cemented the emotional bricks that steady their seemingly tenuous hold on this unaccustomed earth.
... phenomenal ... [Tran's] vivid, unadorned narration yields a painful but powerful exploration of the struggle to find a sense of self within a family at the cross-section of cultures, and Tran's story is impossible to forget ... is itself like an altar--a tribute, built piece by painful piece, cloaked in love ... At its core, House of Sticks is a tribute to her parents, an exercise in mercy, powerfully wrought. Tran's courageous telling offers a vision of the myriad fragile and beautiful ways one can build a sense of home and belonging with love as a foundation--one that is, despite the way it might look or feel at times, sturdy.
Tracing the paths of immigration and poverty, Tran’s moving and exceptionally readable memoir is at once heartbreaking, shocking, and hopeful ... Tran is exceptional at telling her story with honesty and without judgment. Readers who loved Tara Westover’s Educated (2018) will find a similarly compelling memoir of resilience in a not-often-seen America.