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Unpolished Gem: My Mother, My Grandmother,…
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Unpolished Gem: My Mother, My Grandmother, and Me

by Alice Pung

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2081656,261 (3.45)17
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Alice Pung has a vivid, direct, immediate prose style with great rhythm, and she compellingly brings to life her Chinese Cambodian family in their transition to life in Australia. She writes crisply and honestly about the joys and pains of living as an immigrant in Australia, as the family go through several shifts, and doesn't flinch from some of the harder material (depression and disappointment) but remains compassionate and balanced. Very enjoyable. ( )
  Kirstie_Innes-Will | Apr 18, 2014 |
A really nicely told and fresh story about the challenges faced by one family of former Cambodian/Chinees refugees who build their new life in Australia. Alice covers unique cultural mores around family, money, work, aspirations, affluence, education and cross-cultural romance. I was particularly touched by her personal challenges in her final months of school study and waiting on her results. My one real frustration was when she was describing the conversations in her head during the early stages of her first relationship with a boy - whilst I was empathetic, it became really irritating, but a very criticism in what is otherwise a very enjoyable memoir. I hope there's a follow-up because I'm pretty sure she's now in her mid-30's and I'd really like to hear how she navigated her family's (in particular her mother) dreams for her along with her emerging individualism and maturity. ( )
  tandah | May 15, 2010 |
I loved the humour in this book but then it lost me. The sory of Alice and her family and their life in Braybrook. Her father opens an electrical appliance store in Footscray bwhile her mother struggles to cope with her new life. A story about family relationshoips and the family's attempt to fit in with this new society. ( )
  khollis | Sep 6, 2009 |
Life as an Australian-born eldest daughter of Cambodian-Chinese refugee parents. Written with great humour but also displaying great emotion. Wonderful stuff. Laugh out loud material. Read May 2008 ( )
  mbmackay | Aug 1, 2009 |
Autobiography. Alice's parents are Chinese, born in Cambodia. The family lives in Braybrook, a working-class suburb of Melbourne. Entertaining in the manner of Amy Tan. Collapsed at the end when the story centred on the teenaged Alice. ( )
  pamelad | Jul 18, 2009 |
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To my family, for this story. And to Rebecca, who loved to read.
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In 1980, my father, mother, grandmother, and Auntie Kieu arrived in Australia by plane.
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Offers a vivid and ironic sense of two worlds. Combines the story of Pung's life growing up in suburban Footscray, with the inherited stories of the women in her family.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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