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Publisher's Summary

As China opens itself to the world and undertakes historic economic reforms, a little girl in the southern city of Guangzhou immerses herself in a world of fantasy and foreign influences while grappling with the mundane vagaries of Communist rule. She happily immigrates to Oakland, California, expecting her new life to be far better in all ways than life in China. Instead, she discovers crumbling schools, unsafe streets, and racist people. In the land of the free, she comes of age amid the dysfunction of a city's brokenness and learns to hate in the shadows of urban decay. This is the unforgettable story of her journey from China to an American ghetto and how she prevailed. 

"Direct and unvarnished, this book describes the endless possibilities of a free society that allows its citizens to chart their own destiny. Ying Ma takes her readers to dark corners where poverty, crime, and racism reign, all the while reminding us that even amid a sea of hate, individuals can choose to believe in kindness, decency, personal responsibility, and racial equality." (Ward Connerly, Founder and President, American Civil Rights Institute, and author, Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences

"A beautiful account of a young girl's encounter with the insidiousness of authoritarianism in China and the tragedies of inner-city America. Ying Ma boldly details some of the worst imperfections of American society, all the while showing, with her own example, why freedom is worth choosing." (Xiao Qiang, Adjunct Professor, University of California at Berkeley, and Founder and Editor-in-Chief, China Digital Times)

©2011 Ying Ma (P)2018 Ying Ma

What listeners say about Chinese Girl in the Ghetto

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Compelling story- equally good narration

I went through her whole book in two listenings. And, it was hard to turn off the first listening. A child on the verge of a move to our country is full of excitement. She doesn’t know what to expect other than it will be a big upgrade to what her life has been in China. Instead, she and her family are cast into a culture that is cruel and pitiless. Because she doesn’t know English and because she doesn’t want to burden her parents with the brutal realities of her new life, she is rendered mute.
But, she has also brought with her from China, a set of values, a keen sense of justice, and a resolute character. The strength of these qualities seem remarkable in a nine or ten year old child. From them proceeds her tale of overcoming.
Even though she is not responsible for any of the conditions of her new life in Oakland, much of the story reads like a confessional - as if she is in part to blame. For example, when she witnesses Chinese adults being humiliated by taunts or physical assaults from the neighborhood’s black kids, she, in her child’s mind is guilty for not doing something about it.
Her narrative style is a very simple and straight forward reporting of events that works effectively to put us behind the eyes of a child.
She made the right choice in narrating the story herself. She has a great voice and her reading pace is perfect.
My single criticism is that she might have tried to intuit, interpret, or analyze the motives of her tormenters. Doing that would have made it an even richer story.

2 people found this helpful

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Ok, but not much depth.

This was the author’s autobiography of immigrating from China to the U.S. and settling with her family in Oakland, CA. I imagine many Chinese immigrants had similar experiences, frustrations and culture shocks as described in this firsthand account. The story touched on Chinese culture and politics and the hopelessness and violence of American ghettos, but didn’t really explore either too deeply. She didn’t pontificate on the origins of ghettos or the racism she identifies (focusing on the anti-Asian racism primarily). Spoiler: it ended with the author (then in law school) and her family moving into a nicer neighborhood. It struck me as a bit superficial, perhaps I was expecting more evaluation of socio-economic issues rather than just a series of personal anecdotes. It was alright for what it was. Performance was a bit halting and some parts seemed to be overdubbed — her voice would change in tone or volume for a sentence or two, which was a bit distracting. It is a fairly quick “read” and good overview of a firsthand immigration experience so still worth the read.

1 person found this helpful

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the truth is often powerful and painful

the truth is often powerful and painful just as this story was. could not stop listening

1 person found this helpful

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An Interesting Perspective and an Inspirational Story

I’m a white right wing American man. I don’t believe in mass immigration to the United States. This country will no longer be the free, peaceful, and prosperous place it has been if its founding culture is diluted out and marginalized through the importation of low-skilled unmotivated people who care little for this country’s heritage (this process is already well along).

However, I do welcome a small number of the best and the brightest immigrants who can peacefully and respectfully meld with the America I’ve known and loved. Ms. Ying Ma is a fine example of such an immigrant. I’m sorry she and her family had to endure the hardships she described at the hands of “Americans” who have no business here and instead belong in the third world cesspools to which they trace their lineage.

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Worth your time.

This gutsy woman describes what the news business mostly ignores. This book describes life in the intercity in modern America, a dangerous, depressing place. Her escape should be hope for those with the ambition to repeat her journey. It also shows the hell that misguided policies have created. We need statesmen, not political hacks, and we need them now.

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A MUST READ! ESSENTIAL MEANINGFUL IMPORTANT

Every Democratic representative should read this book as well as media spokespersons at all networks. You will learn that blacks in poor neighborhoods beat up on Asians. BLM READ THIS BOOK! and stop complaining about being victims!

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Enthralling

Beautiful writing and storytelling. The book felt factual, detailed, and vulnerable all at the same time. So interesting from start to finish. 100% recommend especially with today’s political narrative.

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Evidence Democrats don't care.

Great story and Ying Ma has a story to tell. Loved it. Passionate and substanitive.

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Educating story!

This real-life drama took me into the world of foreign immigrants and their struggle to fit in. Eye-opening for me as a typical American; it makes me both grateful to be born in America but also sad because of the way many people are treated.

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Interesting & heartfelt

The journey for this young girl was so hard. Truly an uphill battle. In the end she’s a winner!