This book is about the life of a small Chinese girl named Adeline Yen Mah. It starts out when she was just a small child. Her mother died soon after giving birth to her, and now all of her siblings resent her for that fact. Even her own father thinks she is bad luck, and her new step-mother hates her and has beaten her since then. But Adeline has found something to make her father proud, her grades. Everytime Adeline has received an award at school, or had a special pin or ribbon, her father would congratulate her. And that's close enough to what she wants, she wants to be noticed and to be loved. Most of her life was spent in the shadows as she tries to be invisble and nonexistent to the rest of her family. But life goes on, and Adeline is determined to make something of her own. As she grows up, her step-mother manipulates her family into sending her away to a boarding school. It turns out that this ends up being a good thing, she becomes smarter, learns more English, and eventually becomes strong enough to be her own person. At the very end, her life takes an unexpected turn. It makes this story worth reading.
Likes and Dislikes:
I really didn't think I was going to like this book at all, but it surprised me. It starts off slow but soon you kind of lose yourself reading it. It's one of those books that you have to keep reading because it is Adeline's life story and you just have to know what happens next. So, after all, I really did like this book because it just proves you can't judge a book by its cover. One thing I didn't like that the author did was drag things out. I mean sure, it makes things slightly more interesting after a while, but I like to read things that get to the point. Although it's contradictory to what I just said, I like how the author includes details, because it makes me understand. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like her details but I just don't like how long it takes to get to the point.
"Everything is ugly. I loathe myself."
Adeline is saying this to her friends as they try to describe eachother. Many of her friends voted her as most likely to succeed. And after doing so, they asked her what she thought of herself and that was the answer that they received. All her life, she has been raised thinking she was such a horrible person and that she didn't deserve to have good things or think good thoughts about herself. Even with just her friends she couldn't come up with something good about herself. This quote shows future readers that this book is sad. Sad enough to, in real life, tear down a girls' hopes and dreams to the point where she hates herself.
I do recommend this book to anyone who doesn't mind a bit of confusion and a bit of a sad story.