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Lucky Girl: A Memoir

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,150 ratings  ·  176 reviews
In a true story of family ties, journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood, one of the first wave of Asian adoptees to arrive in America, comes face to face with her past when her Chinese birth family suddenly requests a reunion after more than two decades.

In 1974, a baby girl from Taiwan arrived in America, the newly adopted child of a loving couple in Michigan. Mei-Ling Hopgood had an
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Algonquin Books
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,150 ratings  ·  176 reviews

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Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an easy read level of direct experience for Mei-Ling Hopgood. It's her birth family/adopted family story. And also eventually the facts for/ of her two Korean adopted brothers from the American Hopgood family of Taylor, Michigan. From the time she was 8 months old these Hopgoods were her adoptive parents.

It's interesting and also refreshing. Not only within the story of her first meetings in Taiwan with her birth family members when she was 23 but all the subsequent interplay with the b
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Mei-Ling was born in Taiwan and at seven months old, she was adopted by a loving American couple, Rollie and Chris Hopgood. The Hopgoods also adopted two boys from Korea. The three children grew up as all-American kids and Mei-Ling was never really curious about her birth family or her life in Taiwan before her adoption.

One day, after Mei-Ling had finished college and was working as a journalist, her adopted mother called her and told her that Sister Maureen, the nun who had facilitated her adop
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china, adoption
As an adoptive parent of a child from China, I am very glad I bought this book, as I think my kids will benefit from reading it when they are older. It was very refreshing to me to read about someone who did not view their adoption as a great tragedy or a hole that will never be filled. I accept that some people feel this way. I accept my own children might feel this way. But sometimes when I read adult adoptee writings or even adoption literature, it sounds as if ALL adoptees will or should fee ...more
Vikki Ortiz
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I started reading Lucky Girl on a flight out of town for vacation. I was so captivated by the story from the first chapters, I was almost disappointed when I arrived at my destination and had to stop reading! Hopgood tells an amazing tale made believable and real through her skilled journalistic observations and note taking. The historic background and research adds a depth to the book that takes us beyond mere journal entries. She brings us along on her journey in which we are asked us to consi ...more
Beautifully written memoir of an adult adoptee from Taiwan. She was adopted by a couple from Michigan when she was 7 months old, and grew up in a loving home with two brothers adopted from Korea. She suffered identity issues as a teen because of her ethnicity. Mei-Ling excelled in school and has become a successful journalist.

When she was 23 her Taiwanese birth family contacted her, a mother, father and six sisters. She later learned of the existence of four other siblings as well. Mei-Ling take
Joanna Eng
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
I appreciated what Hopgood had to say and think transracial/international adoption is an important topic to write about. I could also relate to some of the way she felt when visiting a "home country" that wasn't really her home.

However, I was a little disappointed with this book. I thought the style and structure were a little simplistic. It was a little too much like "This happened; and then this happened; and then this happened; and then I felt like this...."

I also found it strange that Hopgoo
Larry Bassett
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a personal experience of an Asian adoption
Shelves: china, memoir
Lucky Girl is a must-read if you are a parent, sibling, or other close relative of an adopted Asian girl. Others may find it less compelling. I give it an extra star since I have an adopted Chinese daughter.

Mei-Ling Hopgood came to the United States when she was 8 months old, given up by her biological parents and adopted by a Caucasian couple in Michigan. She spent her growing up years trying to be a white American in spite of her Asian background and appearance. She left Taiwan, China behind
Deirdre Skaggs
Apr 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways, 2009-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I really enjoyed Mei-Ling Hopgood's book, How Eskimos Keep Their Children Warm and I wanted to read her first book. This one did not disappoint.

It's the autobiographical story of a Chinese American woman, adopted as an infant by a white family living in Detroit, whose birth family in Taiwan contacts her and arranges for her to come meet them in person. Her journey bridges distance, time, language and cultural barriers, and a wide range of emotions as she meets the
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I won "Lucky Girl" from one of Goodreads' giveaways. It's an interesting read, detailing both how journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood's adoption as an infant came about and the aftermath as she grew up in a happy American family and what transpired after she reconnected with her Taiwanese birth family who gave her up for adoption. Many things in the book will ring true for Asian Americans, adopted or not, growing up in an American society as they did for me. Of course, Mei-Ling's experiences are uniquel ...more
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This memoir is different from many of the others I have read recently. A lot of authors lately either construct a contrived set of circumstances to chronicle, or they get super-revelatory, sharing scandalous or just plain embarassing anecdotes, thoughts, etc.
Quite the opposite, this book details a young American woman discovering her birth family in China and developing relationships with her birth parents and her siblings. So, there is something of substance for her to to share with readers. Al
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Bravo to the author of this memoir. I won a pre-release copy of "Lucky Girl" at just the right time. I had just finished "Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China" by Jung Chang. With my brain still processing the history and communism of China, and the rich culture of Asia steeped in tradition, this was a very compelling read.

This book is one adopted person's story of finding her birth-parents and natural family. Born in Taiwan and raised in the United States, Mei-Ling Hopgood gives a first-person
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
As soon as Mei-Ling Hopgood recounts the hectic, excited first phone call she gets from her Chinese biological family, in the first chapters (really an extension of the prologue), my heart was won. In chapter 2 Hopgood beautifully imagines her parents' young lives in Kinmen Island in the Taiwan Straits, suffering Mao's constant real and propaganda-filled bombs. Hopgood also shares the letters to her adoptive parents from the young nun who kept her and worked for months to push her adoption throu ...more
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm having a hard time really getting absorbed in this story. I want to be interested but the tempo of the sentences or the structure is a bit off putting. I'm not very far in and will continue pugging away but so far, it is work.

After the first 30 pages I really enjoyed this book. There are a couple times when I had trouble following who the author was talking about and there are some editing issues that hopefully were dealt with prior to publishing but the story was very engaging.

Althought the
I won this thru the goodreads first read program, but it's certainly a book I would have picked up on my own.

For me, the most interesting part of the story was the Chinese culture that puts such a priority on male children as opposed to females. The author was born to a family that, unluckily for them, kept having baby girls. The father becomes obsessed with having a boy. The author and a younger sister were given up for adoption because they were girls and while the family could keep a boy, th
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Free book from GoodReads giveaways.

Mei-Ling Hopgood spent the first twenty-some years of her life with her adoptive parents in a loving home in a Michigan suburb. Through a couple of casual contacts with the nun who arranged her adoption, Mei-Ling's birth parents in Taiwan sent word that they wished to make contact with her.

Hopgood takes the reader with her as she learns of the circumstances that led to her adoption, the many members of her birth family, and her own self-discovery. The writing
Amy (mrsAmy#s)
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 50-in-2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this one in light of our own plans to adopt internationally. I thought the memoir had a good balance of events and Mei Ling's emotions, and I thought that her emotions come across as balanced as well. She embraces a chaotic, complicated sisterhood, she tries to connect with her mother, she comes to mostly despise her father, and she strengthens her relationship with her adoptive parents. She is indeed a lucky girl, and I hope that I am a lucky girl in our journey to find our daug ...more
Jennifer Wilson
Feb 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I have this feeling that this memoir by an adopted Chinese-American is about to get nuts ... the family from China is desperately, repeatedly trying to contact her. Looking forward to finding out what happens next.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
This could have been an interesting story, but instead lack of depth and poor writing made it a bit dull.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an interesting memoir from a Chinese girl who was adopted as a baby by an American family. The title is especially apt after meeting her birth family. She was the sixth daughter of a submissive woman and a man whose sole goal in life was to produce a son, whether by an adulterous relationship or through adoption. There were two daughters born after Mei-Ling, one of whom was adopted by a Swiss couple. Unbelivably, Mei-Ling's mother agreeed to the adoption of two of her daughters after he ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
An interesting, almost surreal account of a transracial adoptee's experience. I related a lot with Hopgood with regard to how she felt about being adopted, and a sort of ambivalence about doing a birth search. Her story is out of the norm in a few ways--the vast amount of paperwork required for her to be adopted, the level of communication maintained with the agency/nuns who facilitated her adoption (and that of another adopted sister), the hugely desired reunion with the birth family, etc--all ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: asian, asian-author
From being an unwanted baby girl in Taiwan and put up for adoption to a Caucasian couple in the US, Mei-Ling Hopgood chronicles the discovery of her birth family and ferreting out the details that led to her and a younger sister being put up for adoption almost upon birth. Getting to know her blood sisters, half brothers, her birth parents, trying to understand why with both a language barrier and a cultural divide, and frustrated by the behavior of her birth father.

Who came out ahead, the birt
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Mei-Ling Hopgood was adopted as a toddler from Taiwan by American parents in 1974. She had a typical middle-class American upbringing in Michigan along with two younger brothers adopted from Korea. When she meets her biological family in 1997, her whole world becomes a lot more complicated. She learns that she has six sisters and a brother living with her biological parents as well as another younger sister who was adopted by a Swiss couple. As Mei-Ling navigates both worlds, she learns that nur ...more
Karen Ng
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book, the author is an Asian American journalist whose Taiwanese family gave her up for adoption at 7 months.She was raised by a Caucasian couple, had a happy childhood and a pretty successful career, until her bith family contacted her to ask for a reunion.This book is about her journey to reconnect with her brth family and her roots. It's one of the two good memoirs about adoption I've read recently. The other is All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. I recommend both. Bot ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood writes the warts and all story of how she came to know her birth family in Taiwan. Although at first buoyed by being part of a group of seven sisters she ultimately finds she cannot tolerate the patriarchal attitudes responsible for her own adoption by, luckily, a well meaning and loving American family. Mei-Ling cannot help but compare her American parents to those who heartlessly abandoned her. Perhaps what fascinated me most was how Mei-Ling’s sisters and the autho ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Straightforward, interesting adoption story, different from the usual Asian narrative. Wish that it could have gone in more depth, with better research and deeper insights, but the story is compelling enough as is for a quick read.
Antonelia C
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This was my first memoir book. Not my kind of book: no plot twists, no climax. Just the story of a woman and her feelings and thoughts about her adoption and her birth family. I enjoyed to discover a little more about Chinese culture. That's all.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highly-recommend
This book is my past, present, and future. I am a Taiwanese adoptee reconnecting with her birth family so this book is deeply personal to me. If you want to read a book from the adoptee perspective, then I highly recommend this book!
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adoption
3.5 stars. Really interesting story, but just not that interesting of a read.
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Mei-Ling Hopgood is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Detroit Free Press, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, National Geographic Traveler, and the Miami Herald, and has worked in the Cox Newspapers Washington bureau. She lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her husband and their daughter. A newspaper feature she wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the reunion with her birth f ...more

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