Emily's Reviews > Unpolished Gem

Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung
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's review
Mar 21, 2011

liked it
Recommended for: Asians, Asians living in a western country, Westerners who would like to peek into the Asians' lives
Read from March 21 to 23, 2011

Unpolished Gem is the second memoir that I have read, the first one being the Diary of Anne Frank. This book is actually part of my English assignment and I am supposed to do an expository essay out of this. Being an Asian Memoir, this genre is fairly new to me but it is a very great book. Funny, lighthearted and a great reading experience in a whole.

I can safely say that this book opens up a window to the life of an Asian girl having to battle through the culture that she grew up into, which is the Australian culture, while having to preserve her own Asian heritage, with the constant companion of extremely traditional grandmother and parents. The book itself is rich with Asian culture, traditions, typical Asian people and customs. And at the same time pointed out how all these Asian quirkiness fit into the uncharted territory of the Whites and their totally opposite cultures.

The thing I like about the book is that there are so many things that I can relate to. I have just moved to Australia recently, and while I do not have to struggle with the cultures - because by now I perfectly know what the norms are and I'm very much the stereotypical Asian - making adjustment isn't so simple either. This book made me go 'Oh, I have totally experienced that before!' Which tells me that I am, after all, not the only one having to experience such things and it's nice to know that you are not alone. At some part of the books, the feelings that Alice had mirrored mine perfectly, and for that alone the book holds a special place within my heart, so close, so relatable, so poignant.

I have to thank whatever fate that caused my teacher to make this an option for the assignment, that caused me to choose this book despite the very tempting alternative. I see this book as something more than just an assignment, but a book that helped me through this transition period, which is also possibly one of the toughest times in my life.
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Reading Progress

03/22/2011 page 140
49.0% "Great book so far, and I totally could relate to the cultural differences the writer has to experience. Looking forward to finish it :)"
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