Sunday, September 19, 2010

Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok

This novel chronicles the journey of eleven-year-old Kimberly Chang and her mother as they immigrate from Hong Kong to America. They take work in a sweatshop run by relatives, who only pretend to be kind and generous, and struggle to make ends meet and a better life for themselves.

Kim has always been a brilliant student, excelling in math and science, but in America the language barrier and cultural confusion prove daunting barriers. But Kim prevails and even wins a full scholarship to a prestigious school, and later to Yale. Even then there are difficulties as first love with an unambitious boy content so stay in the garment district of Chinatown and a broken condom threaten to derail her future.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I was on Kim's side from page one, both the novel and its heroine are a real success story.

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