Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

Adeline Yen Mah, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-32707-7
Mah revisits the territory she covered in her adult bestseller, Falling Leaves, for this painful and poignant memoir aimed at younger readers. Blamed for the loss of her mother, who died shortly after giving birth to her, Mah is an outcast in her own family. When her father remarries and moves the family to Shanghai to evade the Japanese during WWII, Mah and her siblings are relegated to second-class status by their stepmother. They are given attic rooms in their big Shanghai home, they have nothing to wear but school uniforms, and they subsist on a bare-bones diet while their stepmother's children dine sumptuously. Mah finds escape from this emotionally barren landscape at school, but the academic awards she wins only enrage her jealous siblings and stepmother, and she is eventually torn from her aunt--her one champion--and shipped off to boarding school. That Mah eventually soars above her circumstances is proof of her strength of character. The author recreates moments of cruelty and victory so convincingly that readers will feel almost as if they're in the room with her. She never veers from a child's sensibility; the child in these pages rarely judges the actions of those around her, she's simply bent on surviving. Mah easily weaves details of her family's life alongside the traditions of China (e.g., her grandmother's bound feet) and the changes throughout the war years and subsequent Communist takeover. This memoir is hard to put down. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-21108-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 224 pages - 978-0-440-22865-3
Prebound-Glued - 240 pages - 978-0-613-34012-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-0479-1
Paperback - 205 pages - 978-0-385-74007-4
Open Ebook - 122 pages - 978-0-307-48280-8
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-14-130487-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-9006-1
Prebound-Sewn - 205 pages - 978-1-60686-854-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-0674-5
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