Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
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Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  14,212 ratings  ·  1,518 reviews
A riveting memoir of a girl's painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s.

A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published May 6th 2009 by Laurel Leaf (first published August 2nd 1999)
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Kwesi 章英狮
Every country and every people that resides have different culture and have different story to tell. From the most depressing experience of their lives from most unforgettable moments they felt in their childhood. But how can they manage to express and treasure those experiences forever? Some people write them on their journals or diaries, some record it through tapes and CDs, some tell their past lives from their grandsons and few write and compile their stories into a book.

Adeline Yen Mah's sh...more
Laura
What is really shocking about this book is to read about the abuse of a child (the author) at the hands of her truly wicked stepmother and sadistic father (well, the stepmother is sadistic, too, so they're a perfect pair), and then to get to the middle of the book and actually see photos of these horrible people. It made my blood boil. Adeline Yen Mah's story, however, is about a child's attempts to navigate an abusive household situated in China during and after World War II. As she matures, we...more
Kendra
Kendra Guo 904
12/22/08

Chinese Cinderella
The true story of an unwanted daughter
By Adeline Yen Mah
205pp. New York, New York
Dell Laurel-Leaf. $6.50 US
ISBN 00-440-22865-4

Adeline Yen Mah’s novel, Chinese Cinderella, tells a story about her as a young girl, Adeline struggles for the attention and affection from her father and family. The Chinese Cinderella was a really touching and interesting story. If you could relate you might cry. And this story is said to be a true story. Read this if you like t...more
Abby
What a whiny book!
At that time in china or hong kong or whatever she was lucky to be able to
1. Go to school
2. Have food daily
3. Have a proper home. My, even a big house!
4. Have a bed
5. Have a fucking DRIVER?!
6. have clothes
7. Knew English (?)

My mother never had that yet she is living like any other who suffered from lack of necessities. Never in my life had she complained to me even once about her past. Well she have, but only ever about her stepfather beating her until she bled. She and her ot...more
June
I also read Falling Leaves by the same author. It seems to be a retelling of the same story. The author recounts the cruelty she suffered as an outcast daughter who is blamed for her mother's death. She is treated like a second class citizen by her siblings, her father and her new step mother. I found the details about life during WWII interesting. While not quite as brutal as some other memoirs that come to mind, such as Bastard out of Carolina, it conveys what it feels like to be an unloved ch...more
Karen
I had a hard time being too sympathetic for Adeline because, although treated like an unwanted daughter, she still had it SO much better than the majority of the populace of China during that very turbulent time. She still received a 1st class education, she was not sold off as a slave or given away as a third or fourth wife to some old man, she never had to go hungry or without the basics of life. Her story could be that of a number of people from many different cultures. She comes off as whine...more
Salymar
This was my book report back in high school. I treated this book not just a topic in a report but an inspirational novel that burst the tears out of me.
Adeline Yen Mah's Cinderella story is about a child's attempts to navigate an abusive household situated in China during and after World War II.
Avigail
Very storg book. Chinese Cinderella is a heart-wrenching and sorrowful tale of a young girl growing up in a classic Cinderella setting. Treated harshly by her step-mother and ignored by her father, Adeline's life seems doomed to perpetual sadness. Every time something arrives to lighten up her life, it is taken away from her. She has to deal with loneliness and despair, but throughout the story she never gives up hope, that someday, somehow, things will get better.

Quote: "Please believe that one...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Different. Maybe 2.5 stars. She wasn't made a scullery maid, as was the Cinderella of tradition - and she did have her Ye Ye and her Aunt Baba, alive and well - but she was truly unloved by her step-family. She didn't seem to have enough sympathy for maids and beggars. The book was enlightening as it took place mostly during WWII and immediately afterward, as China was becoming communist. I also learned quite a bit about the calligraphy and language. Overall, I dunno, I have mixed feelings.
Alosi Bloomfield
I decided to opt for a non- dystopian book this time and look for something a little different. This is a coming of age/ autobiography type book, based on the horrific childhood faced by one chinnese girl. It was sitting on my shelf at home and I hadn't gotten round to reading it so I finaly picked it up and read it. One character I found interesting was her father. He had the tragic loss of his wife and now is married to a horrible and cruel women who makes the childhood of the youngest and onl...more
Tesa
This book was one of the saddest book I have ever read but it also makes you think about the life your living. The message thats in the book is clearly to be thankful/grateful for what you have because there are some kids out there who don't have what you have.
Danyelle Leafty
Adeline's birth led to her mother's death, something her family never let her forget. Her father ignored her, and her brothers and sisters tormented her in their own quest for their father's attention. Only in her aunt and grandfather did Adeline find love and peace. Adeline soon turned to scholastic achievement in order to find something of worth in herself. And for every golden star and award she received, her aunt not only praised her, but put them in a safe where she kept her special things....more
Mahima
Chinese Cinderella
Adeline Yen Mah

I decided to read this book because it was lying on the shelf for ages and ages and also because i needed a book to read. I particularly liked this book because it was a true story about a young girl and it's very motivational.

This book fulfills the category of an autobiography on the bingo board. I choose this category because i quiet like true stories that have some time inspirational message. Chinese Cinderella shows how Adeline struggles to gain acceptance...more
Anushree
This book is basically about Adeline, as a young girl, who is disliked by her whole family because they assume her birth was the cause of her mother's death. Adeline lives with her father, Aunt Baba, her grandparents, her older sister and her 3 brothers. When she is one year old, her father marries another woman (whom they call Niang) who is partial towards Adeline and her siblings. As Adeline grows up, she is neglected from the family, but is only accepted by her Aunt Baba and her grandparents....more
Sehrish
This is my favourite and the most memorable story of all time. Its a true story about a girl called Adeline (the author) who tells us the story of her bravery over the abuse she suffers by own father and stepmother. Adeline is born into wealthy and powerful family in China, but her life is a struggle from the moment she is born, as mother dies after her birth due to complications with the delivery. In Chinese culture this marks Adeline as cursed and bad luck, causing her to grow up with the guil...more
Virginia Megson
I chose to read this book as I had heard that it was very inspiring and taught you many life lessons such as you can do anything you set your mind to. I have had many friends read it and say how it was such a sad and moving book so I was very intrigued to read it to. The category this book fits is "a book that teaches you about a culture other than your own"

This book is about a girl called Adeline. She is despised and left out by her family because she is believed to be the reason for her mothe...more
Hannah Rahman
Chinese Cinderella is an amazing novel that is a true story about a girl who was looked down upon and isolated from the rest of her family. As a child she was looked after by her aunt. After her mother died giving birth to her she was considered bad luck by the rest of her family and when her dad remarries she is completely ignored. Although she wins many prizes and excels at school her family still doesn't give her the love and respect she deserves. Adeline Yen Mah goes through many hardships a...more
Jinbin
"Chinese Cinderella" happens to be a true story about the author's own childhood experience. During her childhood, which takes time in the 1930s to 1940s, she was viewed as an unwanted and unimportant person to her family. Her aunt and grandpa and third brother were the only ones that wanted to support her, but couldn't help much. She puts herself into her studies and earned lots of honors. Her family, mostly her stepmother, has given her an unbearable childhood in which she could never forget....more
Simone Yemm
I found this book pretty easy to read and the story was reasonably engaging, but in an age where biographies abound, this one didn't feel particularly special. Sure, the things that happened to her were sad, but in the end not outrageously tragic. She overcame great odds to become the person she is today ... but the story didn't stand out. It's also written a little too simply for my taste - I guess because it's a teen book. It didn't transfer well as an adult reader. But for young teens reading...more
Claire
My sister handed me this book at a used book sale, and I loved it! It is a true story of a young Chinese girl whose mother died while giving birth to her. Her father remarries, and the new stepmother makes the poor girl's life miserable. It is interesting to read about the Chinese culture and how it was affected during all the occupations in China before WWII. It is an inspiring story, because obviously, in the end, the girl perseveres, or obviously she would not be writing this book. I believe...more
Virginia
So sad but ultimately hopeful. I just can't imagine someone treating his own children so poorly. Makes me want to cry. I look at my two babies and would kill anyone who treated them this way. Though ultimately hopeful, mostly this story just made me sad.
Einna Atserc
Really awesome book!
Read in seventh grade and it stirred up a LOT of emotions inside of me.
Really sad, but with a happy (I think) ending
Jessica
Absolutely harrowing look at the life of an unwanted Chinese daughter.
Terry
The book "Chinese cinderella" is about this girl named adeline that when she was born 2-3 week later her mom have a high fever and died. Everyone in the family keeps blaming he and treating her unfairly. On the first day of school Adeline gets a medal and that is what catch her father attention. As i got toward the end everyone started caring for her and treated her fairly and also get rides back home. I think everyone should be treated the same because adeline didn't want to cause her mom to di...more
Ariel Marie
Chinese Cinderella follows the life of Adeline Yen Mah from her earlier years of school and follows her through the end of her years when she fights for a college education. Family is an important element of this novel as is most books about the lives of girls in China. It was interesting to read this novel after I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan because the same family dynamics followed through. Chinese Cinderella was a more updated version and illustrated the views of having a biracial fam...more
Nina L.
I always make it to a point to read a nonfiction book. After a long time, I decided to read this one. I'm definitely happy that I read this.

I won't argue with the story. It seems pretty stupid for me to put up a fight with that. This is a memoir so against my better judgment, I will never argue with a nonfiction's story. Why? Because it happened. It's true. So I can't compete with those events/experiences right? After all, I pretty much enjoyed reading Adeline's experiences even if most of them...more
Hollie
It is pretty infrequent that I read a book an absoltely hate it...hate it bad enough that I cannot see past the bad taste to find any redeeming qualities in it. But this book - I hated it.

Once someone told me to be honest in my journal about things that happen in my life...but to also be cautious about how I speak negatively about others in my journal. That commentary about someone else is recorded forever. If it's negative, that may be all that is remembered about that person, even long after y...more
Dahlia
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
by: Adeline Yen Mah

When I opened the very first page of this book I expected it to be quite sad. But not as sad as I thought it was by the end. When reading this book, I felt her pain, her struggle and her hardships. She was a young girl who wanted to play and enjoy life. But her horrible step- mother, Niang, would not allow her to do so. She would go to school walking, tired, unloved, uncared for, and the list could go on. Her mother an...more
George
Chinese Cinderella is an auto biography written by Adeline Yen Mah. The story shows Adelines struggle for acceptance from her family, who balames her for the death of her mother. Her struggle for acceptance faces her with challenges, new friends and enemies. The main characters are Adeline,her stepmother Niang,her father and Aunt Baba(her best friend). Adelines' stepmother hates the children from her fathers side and treas her chidren like gods. My favourite character is Adeline because she went...more
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What did you think about this? 19 69 Apr 20, 2014 03:03PM  
New Year, New Dog: Chinese Culture 3 5 Jan 30, 2014 12:06PM  
BYU-Adolescent Li...: Chinese Cinderella By Adeline Yen Mah 1 6 May 29, 2013 01:02PM  
Adeline Was So Cute! 8 35 Aug 02, 2012 01:49PM  
Chapters 1-4 4 39 Feb 03, 2012 06:33PM  
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Adeline Yen Mah (Chinese: Yen Jun-ling; Pinyin: Mǎ Yán Jūnlíng; Yale (Cantonese): ma5 yim4 gwan1 ling4) (official birthday 30th November 1937, however real birthday not known, this is in fact her father's birthday) is a Chinese-American author and physician. She grew up in Tianjin, Shanghai and Hong Kong with an older sister, Lydia; three older brothers, Gregory, Edgar and James and a younger half...more
More about Adeline Yen Mah...
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society A Thousand Pieces of Gold: Growing Up Through China's Proverbs Watching the Tree to Catch a Hare: A Chinese Daughter Reflects on Happiness, Spiritual Beliefs and Universal Mystery of the Song Dynasty Painting

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