Book Review – Dragon House by John Shors

Dragon House by John Shors

I can’t throw enough clichés at this book – mesmerizing, touching, moving, heart-wrenching, compelling –  and still I fail to capture the terrible beauty of it.  The street children of Vietnam not only don’t have a home, they generally don’t have any parent or adult figure to help them.  Dragon House is the tale of two Americans, with plenty of troubles of their own, who go to Vietnam to open a center to help take care of as many street children as they can.  The detail is wonderful, letting you understand how crowded and wild Ho Chi Mihn City really is.  Clearly the author spent a lot of time traveling around the area and probably saw unbelievably terrible situations in many cases.  But Shors wisely chose to tell only two of the thousands of stories; any more would have been more than the reader could possibly bear.   The book focuses on Qui and Tam, the granddaughter who is dying of leukemia, and the story of Mai and Minh, two children under the dubious “protection” of an opium-fiend named Loc.  The stories are sad and yet still hopeful, the center a haven of childhood for many children who didn’t have one before.  And as a bonus,  John Shors is donating some of the proceeds of the book to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which works with children in need in Vietnam.  See for further information.