Saturday, February 19, 2011
38. "Chinese Cinderella" by Adeline Yen Mah
Yen Mah, Adeline. Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter. New York: Dell Luarel - Leaf, 1999. Print.
Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love
Adeline Yen Mah, author of the international bestseller Falling Leaves, elegantly captures her early childhood in pre-communist China. Abused and extremely neglected, Adeline spends most of her childhood moving from boarding school to boarding school. Though she was top of her class, she never received the love and approval from her family that she so desired.
This is a story about survival and the endurance of the human spirit. It is a story about believing in yourself and your potential when no one else does:
"The worst of it was that I could see no way out. That was why I found it hard to fall asleep and sometimes still wet my bed. But if I tried to be really good and studied very very hard, perhaps things would become different one day, I would think. Meanwhile, I must not tell anyone how bad it really was. I should just go to school everyday and carry inside me this dreadful loneliness, a secret I could never share. Otherwise it would be over, and Father and Niang would never come to love me" (Yen Mah 55).
I think that all children and young adults will find inspiration in this book. Adeline sets an example for how survivors of child abuse and neglect can escape. For Adeline, as is the case for so many, education was her means of escape and survival.
Although classified as "youth fiction," this is a memoir someone of any age can appreciate.
4.5 darts out of 5