Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

by Adeline Yen Mah | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0767903579 Global Overview for this book
Registered by zosime of Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on 9/9/2006
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by zosime from Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on Saturday, September 09, 2006
From the back cover:

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 King to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.

A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding.
Picked up at a used bookstore in Madison. This book was mentioned in Amy Tan's The Opposite of Fate, so now I'm interested in reading it.

Journal Entry 2 by zosime from Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on Saturday, October 07, 2006
This was an interesting autobiography. Adeline Yan Mah describes her search for parental love and family unity without being overly brooding. Interspersed in her personal journey from the unloved daughter to a successful physician, wife and mother she includes fascinating glimpses of life in turbulent 20th century China. The story of this family is both disturbing and hopeful.

I've offered this up in a Non Fiction Swap.

Journal Entry 3 by zosime from Marshfield, Wisconsin USA on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Mailed today to AceofHearts, who won it in the non fiction book swap.


Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, October 25, 2006
received in the mail today. Gotthis in the Non-Fiction swap. Thanks

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, July 30, 2010
Adeline Yeh Mah was the youngest of 5 children in an affluent Chinese family . Her mother died of complications from her birth in 1937. Soon afterwards her father re-married.

Adeline's stepmother or Niang was extemely domineering and high maintenance. Her natural children and particularly her son were first in her favour. Any of the children not bowing to her wishes were castigated. Adeline was sent to boarding school with instructions that the rest of the family were not to contact her.

Adeline spent her whole life trying to win approval from her father and suffering emotional abuse from her step-mother. Her grandfather Ye-Ye and her Aunt Baba were loving towards her and helped her greatly.

Adeline lived in China, emigrated to England to get a M.D. and finally settled in the US.

This story is somewhat of a Cinderella story and although the story is one that tugs at the heartstrings, the history of China in the 20th century is even more fascinating. I know little about the history of China and find myself wanting to know more.

Journal Entry 6 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Friday, October 15, 2010
Reading now!

Journal Entry 7 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Thursday, October 21, 2010
Adeline is the youngest of five children when her mother dies in childbirth. Shortly after, her father re-marries a French-Chinese whom the children call Niang. Niang is vicious. She takes control of the household, shows favourites to the children she likes, pits the children against each other, threatens them, doesn't let them bring friends home, and is everything you could imagine an evil stepmother to be. Things get worse when Niang has her own children so that she can favour them even more.

All Adeline wants is to be loved by her father. She puts her focus into schooling and gets all A's. While this seems to please her father, he still doesn't give her much attention. Niang makes this as difficult for Adeline as possible, but at the end this is a Cinderella story.

You can't help but despise how Niang treats her children and step-children. There's no reason to treat anyone like this, with all the outright hatred and emotional mind games. I was so happy for Adeline that she got away and created her own life for herself, though she kept getting sucked back into her family drama.

This book was so captivating that I couldn't put it down. I wanted to make sure that Adeline ended up alright. I also really enjoyed the Chinese sayings that were scattered throughout the novel, including the one used for the title: Falling leaves always return to their roots.

Journal Entry 8 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, December 01, 2010
mailed yesterday

Journal Entry 9 by Ri at Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Friday, December 03, 2010
Arrived today! Thanks, blushing bride and mom! :)

Journal Entry 10 by Ri at Cincinnati Public Library - Deer Park branch in Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Monday, March 18, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (3/18/2013 UTC) at Cincinnati Public Library - Deer Park branch in Cincinnati, Ohio USA


In an effort to pare down the massive TBR pile and be realistic about what I am going to read in the near future, this little book needs to get back on its traveling way!

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