Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.
This is the kind of book that feels like a heart bleeding in pages. The kind of book that reminds me why I love reading.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is Little Dog’s letter to his illiterate mother. He tries to write what he could never say out loud. It’s a difficult read, there was pain and misery all throughout, in a way, it makes me doubt this is a work of fiction. But given the kind of life he had in the story, it just couldn’t be.
Little Dog is the son and grandson of disaster. Both his mother and grandmother are mentally unstable who survived the Vietnam War. We get to read in Little Dog’s letter a wide variety of themes including violence in the family, addiction, sexual preference, identity, race, immigrants, war and more. It was brutal. It was devastating. It was beautiful. It felt so real.
This is my first book from Ocean Vuong and one of my best reads so far this year. Surely, this will definitely be not the last work I’ll read from this talented writer/poet.
“I am writing because they told me to never start a sentence with because. But I wasn’t trying to make a sentence—I was trying to break free. Because freedom, I am told, is nothing but the distance between the hunter and its prey.”
“They say nothing lasts forever but they’re just scared it will last longer
than they can love it.”
“I miss you more than I remember you.”
“We try to preserve life—even when we know it has no chance of
enduring its body. We feed it, keep it comfortable, bathe it, medicate it,
caress it, even sing to it. We tend to these basic functions not because
we are brave or selfless but because, like breath, it is the most
fundamental act of our species: to sustain the body until time leaves it
“To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be
Rating: 5/5 stars