Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chinese Cinderella: The true story of an unwanted daughter By Adeline Yen Mah

I gave this book a rating of four out of five. I'll call the main character Adeline, since the Chinese culture gives different names to its people depending on the situation. Adeline's mother dies two weeks after she was born, so the rest of the family considers her bad luck. Her father remarries, and her stepmother dislikes all of his children; she especially despises Adeline. Adeline is mistreated, ignored, and beaten. She spends most of her life away from the family home in boarding schools or orphanages. She is separated from her favorite aunt, has her only pet and friend killed, and feels like she has no positive qualities. At one point, while filling out a form to get her into school, Adeline's father realizes he has forgotten her name and birthday! Adeline doesn't even know her own birthday, since it was never celebrated or recognized during her entire life. Despite her dreadful family life, Adeline excels no matter which schools she attends. Her friends and teachers view her as a talented, intelligent, remarkable young woman, even though she feels she's worthless. Near the end of the book, Adeline's grandfather tells her to create her own destiny, so she does.

This story is more amazing when I remember that it's based on the life of a real girl. My students told me the book was sad, and it is, but I found myself feeling anger and disgust toward Adeline's parents. She did everything she could to receive their approval and love, but they wore her down to a feeling of hopelessness. Her stepmother was openly mean, and her father was uncaring and unsympathetic. In the end, her favorite aunt writes her the story of The Chinese Cinderella which gives her hope.

Lexile level from 960

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments unrelated to the books being described will be removed.