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Lucky Girl

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  982 Ratings  ·  164 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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Algonquin Books (first published April 28th 2009)
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Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Larry Bassett
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Joanna Eng
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
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
This could have been an interesting story, but instead lack of depth and poor writing made it a bit dull.
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. It was interesting to learn about Mei-Ling's Taiwanese family. I think that she appreciated her adoptive family and the life she was able to live.
Matt Diephouse
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My wife and I are in the process of adopting from China, and the adoption agency had this book on a list of recommended resources.

I found Lucky Girl to be incredibly interesting and very moving. It was well written, which is certainly a selling point, but I especially appreciated Mei-Ling's openness.

Mei-Ling was adopted as a baby by a couple from Michigan. After college, she is reconnected to her birth family. This book tells the story of that reunion and the messy reality of adoption. While it'
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! At the beginning, I wasn't a huge fan of Hopgood's writing style, but then it kind of started growing on me and stopped distracting me from the story. I like reading adoption stories, and stories about people reconnecting with their roots, so this book was a perfect fit for me. Some of Hopgood's observations about Chinese culture were also very familiar and relatable to me. All in all, a great memoir about a woman reconnecting with her birth family and ancestral cultu ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-esque
I feel like I'm damning this one with faint praise. A memoir, it chronicles an adopted woman's almost accidental journey to reconnect to her birth parents. I found it interesting for a lot of the cultural details. It held my interest as I read it, but was a bit repetitive at times.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mei-Ling is a twenty-something journalist still finding her ground in what will become her life-long career when her birth family suddenly re-appears in her life. As a toddler, Mei-Ling was put up for adoption in Taiwan and promptly brought to live with a loving American family in Michigan. Despite how isolated she felt as an Asian American living in the Midwest, Mei-Ling had never spent much time wondering where she came from, with a supportive set of parents and two younger adopted brothers. O ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting memoir about a young woman who was adopted from China as an infant and managed to find her birth family when she was a young adult. Mei-Ling Hopgood had always imagined herself to be abandoned or given up by a poor country family, and she was partly right. When she was born the family already had five girls and strugged to feed them. The father decided that if the next baby was also a girl she would be given away, and so Mei-Ling went to Michigan where she grew up fullyAmerican with ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
This is pretty good - compulsively readable, and really interesting. It made me hungry (for dumplings in particular, but aren't dumplings always a good idea?). I like that this focused on what came after she met her birth family, and the complicated difficult ways that played out over the years.
Polly Stahl
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is an excellent book about a girl adopted from Taiwan by an American couple. She discovers her birth family as an adult and comes to enjoy a bond with her many sisters. She travels to Taiwan on several occasions and one of her sisters spends some time with her in the US. She attempts to have a bond with her birth mother but a language and emotional barrier more or less prevents it. Her sisters blame their father for her adoption and that of another sister who was adopted by parents in Switz ...more
Basically, Lucky Girl is about an adopted Chinese girl who gets in touch with her birth family and the story of why and how she was adopted. Furthermore, not only does she describe her life with her adopted family, but also how she came to meet her birth parents and her interactions with them.

I was actually surprised with how much I enjoyed the book. Yes it has several flaws, but because I am second generation South Asian, I could understand the complexity of being an American and being Asian,
Until Mei-Ling Hopgood was in college, she knew she was adopted and she knew the barest bones of her early life story, but she didn't particularly feel the need to seek out more information about her birth family. She loved her parents, a loving Midwestern couple, and she adamantly thought of herself as an all-American girl.

When she meets the nun who originally organized her adoption, however, she finds herself agreeing to get in touch with her Taiwanese family. The next thing she knows, she is
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
from a blog post:

As part of their comic strip, hubby Bill and friend Gene post a weekly book review. Publishers love this, which translates into many boxes of "advance reading copy" books at our front door. Once in a while, one of them piques my curiosity.

I spent most of Sunday morning curled up on the couch ignoring my kids (who were playing happily near by) so I could explore one of these advance copies that Bill put in my space. Foremost, Lucky Girl was a pleasure to read. Mei-Ling Hopgood is
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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
More about Mei-Ling Hopgood...