Martin Kinney, Jr. is overweight, undersocialized, still living at home with his two emotionally abusive parents, at the age of 36. He has a job as stockboy with K-Mart, and bowls on Tuesday nights. He watches NASCAR on Sundays, and that’s it. That’s his life.
Until his father lay dying and told his son the unbelievable story of when he was in Viet Nam seeing a beautiful girl in a remote spot, who waved to him to come over to her, and they made love. He fell in love with this girl, and from then on, after he returned to the States, he lived a life of regret and sorrow and drinking. He asked his son to take his ashes and scatter them at that location where he met the girl.
And is the story of how this dull, somewhat dim-witted man went about doing what his father requested. Along his way, he too meets a beautiful Vietnamese woman named My Phoung, for who the book is titled.
It is a beautiful story, beautifully written. In some ways it is a bit choppy, but that is exactly how you would expect our reluctant hero to be, and it suits it, whether intended or not.
We get to see a bit of Viet Nam, and are reminded that all around us, if we open our eyes, we will always be able to see beauty rising.