... 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.
Tran leads us through this coming of age story with incredible details that showcase an immigrant perspective filled with heartache and hopefulness. This book is a testament to the strength of America's immigrant families and the forces that have governed American ideas of assimilation ... It offers perspective and insight into a situation that remains sadly underrepresented in the genre ... It showcases the tremendous power we have to alter the fates of others, step into their lives and shift the odds in favor of greater opportunity for our poor and weary.
... 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.