Susan's Reviews > Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
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's review
Apr 04, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: first-reads, goodreads-authors, arc-edition
Read from April 02 to 04, 2010

I can't do justice to this book, you need to read it for yourself. A novel told in the first person, it is a simple story. Eleven-year old Kim Chang and her mother come to Brooklyn from Hong Kong while they can. They work hard, live in desperate poverty, and are hurt by the family already in Brooklyn who should be helping them. Kim tries to be a good student despite the language barrier and students and teachers who treat her badly and contemptuously. After school, she helps her mother in her illegal and obscenely low-paying sweatshop job from which she can't escape. Her mother never quite gets the hang of American language or culture, and Kim is her interpreter. She is a child who must behave as an adult much too soon, and doesn't always succeed at it. This is the story of her childhood in America.

It is a story of love, pride, friendship, stereotypes, culture clashes, betrayal, and determination. The characters become real, and some of them I want to hug, some of them I want to slap, especially Mr. Bogart and Aunt Paula. It is written without sentimentality but with great heart. The story will stay with me for a long time, long after I've read and forgotten many other novels.
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Reading Progress

04/02/2010 page 1

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Tara Chevrestt You got your copy!! We are reading them at the same time! How cool!!! (I just remembered I suggested that. And I forgot and didn't wait.. LOL)

Susan Yes, got it today! No, not really a suggestion to read together, I just thought it would be fun that we're both reading it at the same time. I'm sure you'll finish before I do.

And you are right about Mr. Bogart and Aunt Paula. With people like that "helping" you....

Tara Chevrestt Superb review!!! I, too, felt my review couldn't possbily do it justice.. It's a hard one to review.. Just too many wonderful things to say about it. LOL I hope your mom likes it as much as we did.

Susan I went back and re-read your review and think it is excellent. I just couldn't find the right words and when I tried to explain the story, I'd get bogged down. I think my mom will like this book, want to get it in the mail to her in the next day or two.

Tara Chevrestt You know something.. The more I like a book, the harder it is for me to figure out what I want to say. I get too excited and at loss for words. I will sit there mid sentence sometimes going... ummm.. duh. LOL

Susan That's what I was doing. Maybe that is why so many professional book reviews are critical -- it's easier to say what is wrong with something than to explain what is right.

Tara Chevrestt True that!

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