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Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an…

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

by Adeline Yen Mah

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This is one of my favorite stories, as well as one of the saddest I have ever read. I can't help but feel hopeful for the girl as she goes through life being unwanted and the world tries to break her soul. Instead the girl rises above it all and becomes more than even she thought she could be. ( )
  mariahsidhe | May 12, 2016 |
A younger version of the author’s autobiography “Falling Leaves.” Somewhat choppy prose and I didn’t feel the full sense of why the family disliked her so much.

Wu Mei is Fifth Younger Sister in the Yen family. Her mother died after giving birth to her, so Wu Mei is regarded as bad luck by the rest of the family. She is constantly belittled and verbally abused by her siblings, stepmother Niang, and her father despite how well she does in school. The only people who care about her and know her potential are her grandparents Nai Nai and Ye Ye and her Aunt Baba. Niang sends Wu Mei away to Catholic boarding schools, where no one visits her or sends letters. At book’s end she wins a children’s playwriting contest and her father arranges for her to attend medical school in England.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Different. Maybe 2.5 stars. She wasn't made a scullery maid, as was the Cinderella of tradition - and she did have her Ye Ye and her Aunt Baba, alive and well - but she was truly unloved by her step-family. She didn't seem to have enough sympathy for maids and beggars. The book was enlightening as it took place mostly during WWII and immediately afterward, as China was becoming communist. I also learned quite a bit about the calligraphy and language. Overall, I dunno, I have mixed feelings. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I don't even know how to begin this review. So what do we have here? A girl who, regardless of her bitter lifestyle, just kept on dreaming and fighting? It may sound cliché, but the resulting story that came out from this is actually pretty good (and sad). In a way, it was very motivational to read this book. Here we have the story of a kind, naïve and unlucky girl that was constantly mistreated by her older brothers and parents, having only her grandfather, her aunt and her books to comfort her. Caught in the middle of a tempestuous era of changes and being thrown from one school to another, she still managed to keep her strength to fight and to have dreams and ambitions. And since all this is seen by the eyes of a child, the book is easy to read. Adeline keeps words simple, yet there is a lot of meaning in every single chapter. This was definitely a touching, pleasant story. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
While I admire the author for talking about a painful childhood I felt she repeated a lot of things. Keeping in mind that this book was in the juvenile section and, as such, that is the intended audience, I still felt the book was lacking emotion. It was almost reporter style as if it was about someone else. To me the worst feeling in the world has got to be the feeling of being unloved.Something I have never felt and strive to never ever have my own children feel. So sad there are many children in the world that DO feel this. ( )
  justablondemoment | Aug 12, 2014 |
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To All Unwanted Children.
I have always cherished this dream of creating something unique and imperishable, so that the past should not fade away forever. I know that one I shall die and vanish into the void, but hope to preserve my memories through my writing. Perhaps others who were also unwanted children may see them a hundred years from now, and be encouraged. I imagine them opening the pages of my book and meeting me (as a ten-year-old) in Shanghai, without actually leaving their own homes in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Hing Kong, or Los Angeles. And I shall welcome each and every one of them with a smile and say, "How splendid of you to visit me! Come in and let me share with you my story . . . because I understand only too well that rankling in your heart and what you are going through."
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AS soon as I got home from school, Aunt Baba Noticed the silver medal dangling from the left breast pocket of my uniform.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440228654, Mass Market Paperback)

Chinese Cinderella is the perfect title for Adeline Yen Mah's compelling autobiography in which, like the fairy-tale maiden, her childhood was ruled by a cruel stepmother. "Fifth Younger Sister" or "Wu Mei," as Yen Mah was called, is only an infant when her father remarries after her mother's death. As the youngest of her five siblings, Wu Mei suffers the worst at the hands of her stepmother Niang. She is denied carfare, frequently forgotten at school at the end of the day, and whipped for daring to attend a classmate's birthday party against Niang's wishes. Her father even forgets the spelling of her name when filling out her school enrollment record. In her loneliness, Wu Mei turns to books for company: "I was alone with my beloved books. What bliss! To be left in peace with Cordelia, Regan, Gonoril, and Lear himself--characters more real than my family... What happiness! What comfort!" Even though Wu Mei is repeatedly moved up to grades above those of her peers, it is only when she wins an international play-writing contest in high school that her father finally takes notice and grants her wish to attend college in England. Despite her parent's heartbreaking neglect, she eventually becomes a doctor and realizes her dream of being a writer.

Teens, with their passionate convictions and strong sense of fair play, will be immediately enveloped in the gross injustice of Adeline Yen Mah's story. A complete glossary, historical notes on the state of Chinese society and politics during Yen Mah's childhood, and the legend of the original Chinese Cinderella round out this stirring testimony to the strength of human character and the power of education. (Ages 10 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:06 -0400)

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The daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman describes her very difficult childhood and the psychological abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepmother.

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