Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah [Book Review]

Chinese Cinderella.jpg
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Title : Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

Author : Adeline Yen Mah

ISBN : 9780440228653

Publisher : Puffin

Genre : Memoir

Pages : 252

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars




Chinese Cinderella is one of those books that prove that you can write a simple memoir with uncomplicated words and sentence formation but can still move the reader and touch the chords of his/her heart because the story itself is immensely heartbreaking which is only complemented by a brisk and smooth narration.

Chinese Cinderella” is a memoir written by Adeline Yen Mah, whose mother dies after she is born and her entire childhood is eclipsed by the unfair treatments subjected to her by the hands of her stepmother and father. I understand that there are a lot of negative reviews on Goodreads for this book- many find it “whiny” and “pretentious” for during those turbulent years in China, Adeline had at least a house, education in good schools and always had access to regular meals. I understand that there are many Chinese who have had much worse conditions. Having said that, this book is more about the emotional upheavals of a girl child who is being felt “unwanted”, not only by her stepmother but also by her own father and brothers, rather than being financially deficient.

Along with her story, Adeline has tried her best to include snippets of China’s political happenings of the time to make the reader feel more connected and informed. My favorite chapter is the one where Adeline’s Ye Ye (Grandfather) makes her realize the importance & uniqueness of the Chinese language. Reading this chapter is like a first-hand guide towards the language- you will understand how Chinese is not a phonetic language but a pictorial one and how one can read Chinese fluently still not be able to speak it!

At the end of the book you will also be surprised to know that the actual Cinderella story that we all know has been derived from a much older Chinese folklore. A wonderfully narrated memoir, sure to touch your heart!

Buy yourself a copy of the book here: Chinese Cinderella

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