Sue's Reviews > Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
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's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in November, 2011

I was sucked into the story right away...there's a big teaser on the very first page which hints at some great regret that Kimberly has as she, a grown woman, reflects on her life. Then in the next chapter you jump back to how it all started as a young girl recently immigrated to America, the extreme poverty, surviving in an abandoned slummy apartment, while she and her mother slave away at a sweat shop (and it's set in the 80's...I didn't know these kinds of things existed in the 80's in the U.S.!!!) and the whole story is spent getting you back to that point. The teaser was a very effective tactic and kept me reading through the wee hours of the night. I enjoyed the characters...They are tough, resourceful women and Kimberly is smart, problem-solving kind of kid with a lot of pluck and drive. What kept my rating at 4 stars is the writer's tendency to sometimes overexplain and spell things out where it could've been related with more subtlety. Especially at the end, it felt a bit heavyhanded. In some ways, I thought the story was getting predictable...a rags to riches, cheer for the underdog kind of story complete with a villain...her selfish, coldhearted Aunty. But then it took me by surprise in a clever way and I enjoyed the ride.
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