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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Living for a Higher Purpose: Story of a City Boy Who Survived the Viet Nam War by Living for Jesus and Others by Peter Gia Vu is a painful yet liberating tale of surviving the carnage and horrors of the Viet Nam War. Young Viet moves to the US where, as a refugee, he has to learn English and adapt to a completely new culture and environment. Follow him as he struggles with loneliness, a disturbing sense of despair, and discrimination. But he forges on, searching for his purpose in life. He hears God’s call to the priesthood and enters the Seminary. After studying for ten years, Viet was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In this memoir, the author shares the story of a boy who escapes from a homeland broken by a communist regime, enduring hunger and thirst, facing dangers, and living through life-threatening situations. But the US wasn’t the paradise that many had spoken about. It was a land with its own challenges. But what made Viet endure all these challenges? Where did his strength come from? In this memoir, the author explores the theme of war and shows readers that in the midst of our suffering, there is the liberating joy of living for others and for something higher than ourselves. For him, it is the priesthood. The story is written in a voice that is ruthlessly honest, capturing scenes that are emotionally intense and heartbreaking. Peter Gia Vu is a wonderful writer and he shares Viet’s story in a voice that is captivating and allows readers to see the world from the eyes of a war-survivor-turned-priest. Living for a Higher Purpose invites readers to look beyond themselves to find joy and meaning in the service of others.