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Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
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Girl in Translation (edition 2011)

by Jean Kwok

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1,3901345,468 (3.94)94
Member:ELCLBookclub
Title:Girl in Translation
Authors:Jean Kwok
Info:Riverhead Trade (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:book club

Work details

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Recently added byKaiHalligan, Lisa_Boys, mirikayla, private library, mcclar, St.AndrewsLibrary, thukpa, MaureenCean
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» See also 94 mentions

English (133)  Dutch (3)  Finnish (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
This book was good in an odd sort of way. I liked it but it was odd to read an adult book told through the voice of an elementary/middle school student. The most adult part happened 250 pages in. Parts of it read like a memior as well. There were parts where you could tell that the author wrote something that the character had said in Chinese and then translated it into what it would be in English. It was easy to read and worth it. Like I said the beginning was odd but overall it was. ( )
  Lisa_Boys | Feb 8, 2016 |
This book tells the tale of Kimberley, a Chinese girl who moves to new York with her mother following the death of her father. They live in poverty, in a horrible apartment and working in a factory, where Kim spends her evenings after school helping her mother hang garments. The book is written as a memoir, telling of Kim's struggles to adapt to the new country with no English, and despite her great intelligence.
I enjoyed reading this and found the story really interesting. But I did think it ended quite suddenly. ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 27, 2016 |
i thought this was a memior the whole time I was reading it, and was surprised to find it was a novel. The whole time reading the author makes you feel that she has really lived through these experiences. A young girl and her mother come to America from Hong Kong brought over by her aunt. We follow her through her school years into adulthood including learning english, living in squalor, working in a sweatshop and falling in love. Great book. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
i thought this was a memior the whole time I was reading it, and was surprised to find it was a novel. The whole time reading the author makes you feel that she has really lived through these experiences. A young girl and her mother come to America from Hong Kong brought over by her aunt. We follow her through her school years into adulthood including learning english, living in squalor, working in a sweatshop and falling in love. Great book. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
Kimberley is eleven when she and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to New York. They speak no English, live in abject poverty and work in near-slavery conditions in a sweatshop run by relatives. Yet Kimberley still manages to excell at school, win a scholarship for a prestigious private school and to go on to Yale. All the while she is forced to live a double life, poor and Chinese on the one hand, smart American student on the other.

I wanted to like this, I think it is an important story. However, the idea was better than it's execution. It reads for the most part like a YA novel, partly because of the subjects of growing up, fitting in etc, but also because of the writing. The use of Chinese idioms don't always work, and the same can be said for the occasional phonetic spelling of words that Kimberley doesn't understand as I sometimes had to stop and think what they are supposed to mean. I also didn't care for the ending.

This is a coming of age story with a difference, an interesting look at modern multi-cultural societies. Unfortunately, for me, it's not as compelling as it should be. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant—a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.
 
Kwok adeptly captures the hardships of the immigrant experience and the strength of the human spirit to survive and even excel despite the odds.
added by khuggard | editLibrary Journal
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean Kwokprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wey, GrayceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Erwin, Stefan and Milan, and to the memory of my brother Kwan S. Kwok
First words
I was born with a talent. Not for dance, nor comedy, nor anything so delightful. I've always had a knack for school. Everything that was taught there, I could learn: quickly and without too much effort. It was as if school were a vast machine and I a cog perfectly formed to fit in it. This is not to say that my education was always easy for me. When Ma and I moved to the U.S., I spoke only a few words of English and for a very long time, I struggled.
Quotations
What Annette didn't understand was that silence could be a great protector. I couldn't afford to cry when there was no escape. Talking about my problems would only illuminate the lines of my unhappiness in the cold light of day, showing me, as well as her, the things I had been able to bear only because they had been half hidden in the shadows. I couldn't expose myself like that, not even for her.
Brains are beautiful.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Ah-Kim Chang and her mother immigrate to Brooklyn, where they work for Kim's Aunt Paula in a Chinatown clothing factory earning barely enough to keep them alive; however, Kim's perseverance and hard work earns her a place at an elite private school where she is befriended by Annette, who helps her adjust to American culture.
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Emigrating with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, Kimberly Chang begins a secret double life as an exceptional schoolgirl during the day and sweatshop worker at night, an existence also marked by her first crush and the pressure to save her family from poverty.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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