Saturday, May 29, 2010

review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

genre: adult fiction
book 3 of 8 for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2010
source: publisher

For Ah-Kim, her new life in America was supposed to be an improvement over life in Hong Kong. But after 10 years in China, Brooklyn is a major adjustment. To survive, her mother has to work like a slave in a factory while Kimberly struggles not to fail in school - the one place in China where she'd thrived.

So, it's the story of Kim's double life - her school life where, clearly gifted, she has to try so hard to fit in and succeed and then her home life, working at the factory and living in a practically condemned apartment.

This book reminded me so much of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but with a great "immigrant" twist and a deep cultural presence. I loved learning English along with Kim when the author would write what our language sounded like to her and I liked all the explanations of Chinese expressions.

I think it has heart. I liked watching her learn and grow. I finally learned to appreciate that she, and especially her mom, did things differently than I would because of our cultural differences and once I let that vague irritation go, I was able to relax a lot more when reading.

If you adored a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, you'll find a lot to enjoy in this one. And even if you haven't read that yet, I wouldn't be surprised if you liked it anyway.


Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I love hearing great reviews of DEBUT books and authors. Gives me hope that not everything that comes out is over hyped. I'm getting ready to start My Name is Mary Sutter and hoping for the same.

Cami said...

Interesting. I'll give it a try.

bermudaonion said...

I'm really anxious to read this book. If I like it, I'll have to seek out A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

kashif14763 said...

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