Christina's Reviews > Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah
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Apr 23, 2011

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bookshelves: 11th-grade-advisory

By: Adeline Yen Mah pages:278

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah is the story of Adeline's childhood and how she overcame many obstacles that she faced. The story is set in China and thats where it's set foor half of the book. The other half is set in America when Adeline moves there when she is an adult. Starting of from when she was born, Adeline's mom died a few days after her birth. To Adeline's father, this was a sign that she was an unwanted child. With nothing left for her after her mother died, Adeline didnt know where to turn for support. After some time had passed, Adeline's father got remarried and now she had a step sister that was around her age. Adeline began to notice that her father and step mother really didnt pay much attention to her unless it was to disipline her which meant she would get hit really badly. In school, Adeline was taught to obey her prents and she felt like she couldnt do anything back when she was being hit. The next thing Adeline say was that her step mom would beat her daughter as well. This upset Adeline because she thought just because she was getting hit by these people, doesnt mean she should stand there and watch it happen to her step sister. When she spoke up to her step mother, the beating that Adeline got was worse because they stated that children have no control over what the adults do. Adeline was only supported by one person and that was her aunt and she wasnt around often enough. Then the story skips to when Adeline is an adult and gets married. She marries a man named BYron and has a son with him. The reason this marriage failed was because Byron abused Adeline and hit her just like she was hit when she was a child. Later on her father dies and Adeline finds out that he left nothing for anyone in their family.
I thought this was an interesting book, because even though Adeline had faced many hard times she still was strong and perceivered to have a better life. I would recommend this to teens because there is a lot of violence in it. Starting off when Adeline is a child the beatings just get worse as she grows up. I felt sorry for Adeline because she was beaten by her father and step mother and when she got married she was beaten by her husband too. I wonder what life would be like if there was no one that you could turn to and you had to deal with such a harsh childhood and marriage. Another part that was sad was that when Adeline was born she was unwanted. Her mother already had 4 other children and right after Adeline was born she died. It must be really sad to know that Adeline had grown up in a house of people that didnt even want her. Reading about her experienced has made me aware that it is really important that having people in your life that support you are really important. Whether it be a friend or family member someone has to be there so that you know that someone in the world cares about you.
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