The Books of Ukiah High: Mr. Kyle Kirkley and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s “The Sympathizer”


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Books offer both learning experiences and brain-candy. Wildcats will read many books in their time at Ukiah High. To demonstrate the universality of reading, UHS News will be interviewing students and staff about their favorite books and what inspires them about those books. UHS News interviewed Mr. Kyle Kirkley, a beloved English teacher, about the book The Sympathizer and what makes the book his favorite.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer is about a half-French and half-Vietnamese man serving as a spy for the communist forces in the final days of the Vietnam War. 

[All images taken by Kaitlynn Mitchell]

Mr. Kirkley chose to explore this piece of historical fiction because he had read works by Thanh Nguyen previously.  The voice of the book’s narrator “is captivating and mysterious to the reader,” Mr. Kirkley said.  

Mr. Kirkley’s least favorite part of the book was when he finished the book because “sad that the novel ended.”  Regarding favorite and least favorite characters, Mr. Kirkley enjoyed the narrator and “felt frustrated, by the Commander. The book’s focus on the Vietnam War helped Kirkley explore themes and perspectives on the 1960’s world conflict.

Kaitlynn Mitchell
Kaitlynn Mitchell
Kaitlynn Mitchell, a Junior at Ukiah High School, loves to read and write. I enjoy reading fantasy and romance books. I enjoy writing anything and have always wanted to write my own book. I love to bake pretty much anything and like a challenge. I am the oldest of 4 siblings and enjoy spending time with family. I am pretty easygoing and like helping everyone.

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