The book was an easy listen. It features a protagonist who lives the hard poor immigrant life, and excels at whatever she attempts. She does good. As other immigrants may have secretly felt, I too secretly feel "We had it harder than the Americans who were born here and we did waaay better than average". I admit to this guilty pleasure, that I found affirmed in the novel. But the novel's true conflicts about love and romance were superficial, and did not give me insight into a sensitive or interesting soul. So it is very likely that I will forget this story.
The narration was very skilled. I am not sure about the accuracy of the Chinese-English accent, but it sounded convincing to me. If you happen to be Chinese-American, though, you should check an audio sample before buying the book. (I often find narrators' attempts at Indian English inaccurate and jarring.) The narrator uses a very non-American sounding accent when the protagonist is a newly arrived immigrant child. Then, ever so slowly and smoothly, by the end of the book when the protagonist is grown up, the accent has changed to that of an educated, highly assimilated Chinese-American. This allowed me to relive many aspects of the immigrant experience in a way that words would not be able to express.
I don't know why, but I was skeptical about listening to this one. Seems quite a few of my recent library additions have been less than entertaining. But this turned out to be a little gem. It's summer, and I like books I can listen to without having to work at staying interested. I found the cultural lessons to be spot-on and apt. The story never drags, and there is enough character development to sustain the theme. There is a gradual melding of cultures. The young woman gets into enough trouble to keep it real; that is balanced with enough character and stamina to let you cheer when she excels. It's summer, and I want some triumph in my endings. The reader is very, very good. I hardly EVER say that! She puts enough nuance in the accent and dialect to make me grin because I love words and their origins and development. At times, the misunderstood English word is written and spoken through the misunderstanding ears. As Kim develops her English skills, the dialogue improves as well. I found it easy to break off from listening and returning to the story. It's summer; I don't care for romance or mysteries, and the current sci-fi selections are worse than miserable. This is a good story that kept me interested, and it didn't take three chapters to get going or labor through. It is an easy read, but not childish. It's summer, and I hope my luck has turned the corner and doesn't miss a beat until I'm ready to undertake literature which makes me work a bit.
Hoosier transplanted in Virginia Beach who is a fan of good books and travel.
I so enjoyed this book, with its simple story about survival, choices, and excellence,. The narration was authentic, in both the writing and the performance.
The insights into the Chinese culture and customs..and the difficulties of surviving on the edge of extreme poverty.
The Fortunate Pilgrim, an early book by Mario Puzo - another book about the immigrant experience. Not as popular a read but a great story.
Kimberly, the main character and best delineated by both the performance and the author.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
I seldom write reviews and instead let my stars do the talking. However, I must place conditions on my rating. This book is seen through a young Chinese American's eyes and at the beginning appears appropriate for younger readers. This book contains a passionate, impulsive, premarital teen sexual encounter resulting in an unexpected preganancy and a decision about abortion. There is casual necking, petting, lying to parent and a choice by the heroine to use drugs. Although, as an adult I really liked this book and it's thoughtful treatment on many issues... I would certainly not want a younger teen to stumble into this and I would certainly want to discuss with an older teen.
I think this is really a young adult or teen book. It starts off better than it ended. The narration is fair.
This is the story of a mother and daughter who emigrate from Hong Kong to New York. As they are brought to New York by family, they have hopes of a good new life, but that family ends up forcing them to live in unbelievably poor conditions. The narration is solid and the story is incredible in that, if it is in fact true, it is hard to imagine someone going through what the mother and daughter do.
I listened to this book instead of reading it and I did not enjoy the reader's interpretation of the characters. I also did not enjoy her using a "Chinese accent" as it was difficult to understand and completely unnecssary. I feel that I may have enjoyed the book more had I read it and not listened to it.
The characters were well developed. I especially related to the strong bond between mother and daughter. The evil aunt was a great character too. But I most enjoyed the book during the last few chapters when her relationship to Matt reached a turning point. I almost wished the author spent more time on that story line and less time on describing the roaches in their apartment.
Getting through most of the book was a chore despite a promising topic for a good story.