While looking at the upcoming release from Jean Kwok, I went back to my review and decided to update it. I have increased the rating from 4 to 5 stars as this is one of a few novels that has stayed with me a couple of years after reading.
I actually obtained this book for my wife as it was on a "top twenty books a woman should read" list. Having found it on such a list, I assumed that it would be some form of "chick-lit". Needing something to read and finding the synopsis to be interesting, I read it before my wife got her hands on it. I am glad that I did.
While I am no expert on what women should read, I am confident this is a book that all genders should read. I found this story, which is based (how loosely I am not sure) on the real life experiences of the author to be uplifting and engaging. Personally, I have a soft spot for well written coming of age stories. Here we have a girl being introduced to a new culture while living in impoverished conditions. Despite excelling academically in her home country, she has to essentially start over in a place and a new language. Most readers can identify with a character in a position where they do not fit in. This is a universal theme and one that resounded with me.
Without revealing the content of the book, the story focuses on the life of a bright young girl who moves from Hong Kong to the USA with her mother. In an attempt to build a new life they work in their aunts garment factory. The story follows this young girls transition into a new culture as she attempts to maintain her two worlds, her school and friends and the garment factory.
It has been too long for me to recall the content and provide my regular analysis. I do recall some minor and youthful sexual content and some minor adult language.
Overall, I found the story to be moving and enduring. When looking for a coming of age story, I continually come back to this story to compare. I give this my highest recommendation.