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FALLING LEAVES RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS: The…
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FALLING LEAVES RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS: The True Story of an Unwanted… (original 1997; edition 1997)

by Adeline Yen Mah (Author)

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2,531484,373 (3.66)80
After Adeline's mother died, her affluent father remarried a French-Chinese teenager, Niang, and the family moved to Shanghai where they lived in a large house in the middle of the French Concession. During this time, the 1930s, when everything western in treaty ports such as Shanghai was deemed superior to anything Chinese, Niang was the ultimate status symbol and Adeline's father was besotted.… (more)
Member:Hilgendorf-Evans
Title:FALLING LEAVES RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Authors:Adeline Yen Mah (Author)
Info:Penguin Books [1997] (1997), Edition: Reprint
Collections:Your library
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Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah (1997)

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
The first quarter of is a bit hard to get into, but after that I was hooked. ( )
  taimoirai | Jun 25, 2021 |
V. interesting book. A look into the history of 20th century China. The writing style is not exactly captivating, but the story is and I really enjoyed the addition of Chinese proverbs/idioms. ( )
  Bisonosib | Jun 3, 2020 |
memoir of unwanted Chinese Daughter Cruelty to Own Family—

Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 31, 2016 |
2.5 stars ...
Adeline's mother dies after giving birth to her, the 5th child. Her father remarries a beautiful, young, half-French woman - the epitome of the wicked stepmother. The verbal and emotional abuse heaped on Adeline and her siblings 9but mostly on her), as reported, is heartbreaking. It's a fascinating story. But ...

I couldn't help but wonder why Adeline didn't wake up and assert herself as she grew to adulthood. Perhaps it's because she is of a different culture than I, but she winds up sounding somewhat "whiny" to me.

The use of Chinese sayings (in chinese characters) was effective at first - but I got tired of this device. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 8, 2016 |
Fascinating and disturbing. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Epigraph
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Dedicated to my Aunt Baba, whose unwavering belief in my worth sustained me throughout my tormented childhood. And to my husband, Bob, without whose love this book could not have been written.
First words
It would not be quite truthful say that we were all together for the first time in nearly forty years.
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On the eve of her wedding, Grandmother (@15) was summoned into her father's presence. 'Tomorrow you will belong to the Yen family,' she was told. 'From now on, this is no longer your home and you are not to contact us without permission from your husband. Your duty will be to please him and your in-laws. Bear them many sons. Sublimate your own desires. Become the willing piss-pot and spittoon of the Yens and we will be proud of you.
My mother died two weeks after my birth, with five doctors at her bedside. She was only thirty years old and I have no idea what she looked like. I have never seen her photograph.
Ye Ye's letters to Aunt Baba became more and more despondent. 'All of us clings tenaciously to life,' Ye Ye wrote, 'but there are fates worse than death: loneliness, boredom, insomnia, physical pain. I have worked hard all my life and saved every cent. Now I wonder what it was all about. The agony and fear of dying, surely that is worse than death. In this house where I count for nothing, du ri ru nian (each day passes like a year). Could death really be worse. Tell me, daughter, what is there left for me to look forward to?
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After Adeline's mother died, her affluent father remarried a French-Chinese teenager, Niang, and the family moved to Shanghai where they lived in a large house in the middle of the French Concession. During this time, the 1930s, when everything western in treaty ports such as Shanghai was deemed superior to anything Chinese, Niang was the ultimate status symbol and Adeline's father was besotted.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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