Jodi's Reviews > Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
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's review
Nov 22, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: books-about-china, memoirs
Recommended for: everyone
Read in November, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I am reading everything about China I can get my hands on to prepare for my upcoming trip to Shanghai and Beijing in January. Part of this book in set in Shanghai and I enjoyed reading about places I plan to visit while I am there. The author was very good about including history in her memoir so the reader understood what was happening in the country in the 1940'-50's.

This was a memoir about the author's life as a little girl. Her mother died two weeks after she was born and this affected her whole life. Her siblings told her she was bad luck and were cruel to her. Her father marries a new women and she is horrible and cruel to her stepchildren, but especially the author. When she is old enough the author, Adeline, is shipped off to boarding school and literally forgotten by her family. Adeline doesn't really understand why she is treated worse than all of her other siblings by the stepmother and her father. When the communists invade China, her family flees to Hong Kong and leaves her behind to fend for herself at her school. They refuse to buy her new clothes, or even send her letters while she is away. At one point her father was filling out paperwork for her to go to boarding school and he didn't even remember her name given at birth or her birthdate!!!!! Through it all the author tries hard to succeed and eventually wins international recognition with her writing. When her father sees her name splashed all over the newspaper, he grudgingly agrees to let her continue her education and sends her to England to study at a university. Here, her life dramatically improves and she rises above her sad beginnings. After her father dies and eventually her stepmother she is mysteriously left out of the will. So tragic! I am glad the author had the strength to excel in school and care enough for herself to be successful. In spite of her horrible family and all of the abuse she suffered she became a notable physician and a published author!!!

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