Eileen Souza's Reviews > Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
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May 20, 10

bookshelves: asia, north-america
Read in May, 2010

This was one of those "classic" Eileen books that as soon as I saw it, I snatched it up and refused to let it go.

This is the fictional story of Kim Chung, who moved to NYC with her mom from Hong Kong as a child. The book is about her reconciling the two parts of herself - the hard working straight A student, with the all night factory laborer who lives in a cockroach infested apartment with no windows and no heat.

The aspects of the book that I found most fascinating were her determination to better her families circumstances, and the impact of that on her childhood - the decisions that she made to socially separate herself because of her fear of obligation of showing people her home, missing out on normal childhood activities, sports, sleepovers, movies, etc because she needed to help earn money for them to survive. She was a character that I could respect and admire for making the choices she felt she needed to and rarely looking back.

It wasn't quite a knock your socks off read, so it gets four stars. I may have also been impacted by the fact that I misread/misunderstood the prologue and so I spent the entire book asking myself which decision that she made was the mistake that changed her path to becoming a factory worker for life.
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