Non­fic­tion

Soles of a Survivor

  • From the Publisher
March 19, 2020

The Unbe­liev­able True Sto­ry of a Viet­namese Refugee Who Not Only Made the Unit­ed States Her Home, But Learned the True Val­ue of Hope, Love, and Reli­gion Along the Way

The soles of Nhi Aron­heim’s feet still bear the scars of her escape from Viet­nam — trudg­ing through the jun­gles of Cam­bo­dia as a twelve-year-old with a group of strangers seek­ing the land of oppor­tu­ni­ty: Amer­i­ca. Her quest for sur­vival through the Cam­bo­di­an jun­gle even­tu­al­ly led her to a boat that took her to Thai­land and an orphan­age where Nhi lived for two years until she qual­i­fied for refugee sta­tus in the Unit­ed States. Years lat­er, she returned to Viet­nam with a film pro­duc­er to reunite with the fam­i­ly she nev­er thought she’d see again. A sec­ond trip to Viet­nam brought her two moth­ers, birth and adopt­ed, face to face.

Yet Soles of a Sur­vivor isn’t just anoth­er inspi­ra­tional sur­vival sto­ry. It’s about the lessons Nhi learned about human­i­ty, diver­si­ty, and uncon­di­tion­al love since arriv­ing in the Unit­ed States. She now has a deep­er appre­ci­a­tion for the par­al­lels between the Jew­ish and Viet­namese cul­tures, and oth­ers. After she met her Jew­ish beau, they got mar­ried. She even­tu­al­ly con­vert­ed to Judaism, though the process was chal­leng­ing for an Asian woman adopt­ed into a Chris­t­ian house­hold. Her sto­ry shows it mat­ters less what reli­gion we’re part of, as long as we radi­ate good­ness to those we meet.

Now she rel­ish­es being a Viet­namese Jew.

Hav­ing come full cir­cle from pros­per­i­ty to pover­ty and back, Nhi hopes to encour­age oth­ers to believe that in spite of over­whelm­ing odds, all things are pos­si­ble if one has an intense desire, focused ener­gy, and the audac­i­ty to grasp pre­sent­ed opportunities.

Discussion Questions