Falling Leaves : The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Falling Leaves The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter Author:Adeline Yen Mah Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative ... more »Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.
A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, Falling Leaves is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China.« less
Ding Dong, the witch is dead! The tale of the Evil Stepmother and her hated Cinderella Step Daughter is alive & well in this memoir of growing up wealthy but unloved in mid 20th century China & Hong Kong. After her mother dies giving birth to her, Adeline - the youngest of several brothers & a sister - is considered unlucky and disposable. When her beloved father then falls under the sway of a young, half-French hottie - gorgeous but obviously mentally tweaked - tale after tale of woe ensue for young Adeline and her clan at the hands of dad's new wife. At the very least, visiting with this mega-rich but scheming, screwed up family will make you feel better about the state of your own dysfunctional fam, however, after a certain point, I felt like I was eavesdropping on a therapist's couch & had stayed for one session too many.
This story, while an entertaining, really confused me. Unlike âMemoirs of a Geishaâ or âA Boy Called Itâ, her childhood seems to lack substantial suffering. I find it hard to commiserate with her when her main grievances appear to be that she did not get money to ride the bus and that she had old clothes. While her Stepmother is a world class witch worthy of a starring role in the most cold and heartless Disney tales, I wouldn't say that her story is all that different from many others living with overbearing mothers. She is given a great education in China and in Europe. She spends much of her childhood in boarding schools. Although obviously uncared for, she wasn't locked in a closet lacking in anything but love. Her Stepmother plays favorites and plays the children against each other, but you have to wonder why the author keeps setting herself up for the horrible heartbreak. She just keeps coming back for more even when she HAS distanced herself and become a success in her own right. Really, a good read, but not exactly what I had in mind when I picked it up.
This book was not nearly as good as Memoirs of a Geisha and others. I found this book very hard to get into. While there was the occasional "OMG" moment, for the most part it's not a book I will likely even remember the title of by next week.
I could not put this book down. Brilliant story of how one woman overcame numerous obstacles to find her place in the world. Empowering and inspirational as well as educational. I learned quite a bit about China and its history. Recommend to anyone who enjoys true accounts of the strength of the human spirit.
This is a fascinating read. While there were confusing parts, I personally found it fascinating because of a personal family connection to China. There is a lot of Chinese history in the book and it provides excellent insight into Chinese culture and family life.
I was unable to put this book down. The story is riveting. It gives a very good background of China from the early 1900's to present. It is about a girl in a family of 7 children who was not shown love from her parents. The family dynamics are fascinating and her triumphs despite her upbringing are redeeming.