Crossing the Bamboo Bridge – Memoirs of a Bad Luck Girl

Crossing the Bamboo Bridge
344 Pages
ISBN 0692728767

This compulsively readable, vivid memoir of courage, grief and redemption illuminates the life of Mai, a young girl from Vietnam’s rice fields, who risks everything to escape poverty, abuse and war.

Her battle is not against soldiers but against her neighbors and a thousand years of tradition. Born during Ho Chi Minh’s revolution against the French, she was just a baby when his followers in the village, out of spite, came to her home one night and murdered the men in the family, driving her mother mad with fear and rage.

She was fourteen when her mother forced her to marry, and have a child, with a brutal man who beat and tortured her, finally leaving her for dead beside the road. Recovered, she ran away with her infant son, only to discover there was no place for them. To save her baby’s life, she returned home in disgrace, only to face the Viet Cong. In desperation she escaped again, leaving her child in safety, she thought.

On Saigon’s deadly streets, with no identity papers, she became an outlaw, hiding from her ex-husband, grieving for her lost child. Homeless, penniless and pursued, only her dream of freedom kept her alive. Then one day she would meet a saintly woman, who gave her hope, and an Irish-American naval officer, who gave her love.

Crossing the Bamboo Bridge is a tale of mothers and daughters, and of their children. It is a tale of war, and grief, and a young girl’s dreams. It is a stunning epiphany of hope when there is none, of courage in the face of despair, of love, respect and freedom.

Mai Donohue

About Mai Donohue (Rhode Island Author)

Mai Donohue

Mai Donohue left Vietnam in 1970 to move to the United States with her husband Brian. Mother of seven children, Mai received her Bachelor’s Degree, cum laude, from the University of Rhode Island in 2002 after twelve years of study.

After raising her children Mai worked with students in the Alternate Learning Program at Barrington High School in Rhode Island for fifteen years.

Mai grew up in a country at war. Her small village, Thong An Ninh village in the Quang Ngai Province in the central region of Vietnam, was torn between north and south. From age 7, too small and frail to work in the fields, Mai cared for her nieces and nephews, winning their hearts with stories and delicious meals.

Some sixty years later, Mai still wins people’s heart with her inspirational stories and delicious cuisine. She has precise taste memory, and can reproduce a dish after tasting it once, even recalling flavors from 30 years ago. She spreads the love with food through cooking for community dinners to raise funds for orphanages and infrastructure for underserved children in Vietnam and schools in need in the U.S.

In her first book "Crossing the Bamboo Bridge - Memoirs of a Bad Luck Girl, " Mai tells her inspirational life-story of poverty, rebellion, and war.