Book review on Chinese Cinderella: The Secret Story of an Unwanted Daughter By Caren Shin
In wealthy families, babies are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Not quite for Adeline. In fact, the recount of Adeline Yen Mah’s childhood is a relatively sad one even though her father was a millionaire. She was seen as bad luck to the family as her mother died after giving birth to her. She is always frowned upon by her older and younger siblings, neglected by her father and scolded by her stepmother. She has to learn to depend on herself as there was often no one to help her. The story reveals the two sides of her family: on the surface it is friendly and caring, while inside one can realize how the children are really treated by their stepmother Niang. As the youngest of five children from her father’s first marriage, Adeline has to suffer many blows because every one looks down on her especially when she receives her father’s praise. Adeline’s main reason for her love of school was to be away from her stepmother so that she could become a different person that was admired by her peers as she topped her class regularly. Her whole personality changed when she was away from her Niang and with someone that knew her from the heart; her friend Wu Chung-Mei, her Ye Ye and Aunt Baba. At age eight, Adeline was given a duckling, the only one left after all her siblings had picked their choice. Although it was not the best duckling, she still loved it dearly and treasured every opportunity that she could get with it. She named it Precious Little Duckling (PLT). I think this illustrates her love for her pet and that she was pleased that her siblings had left her one. It also gives a comparison of how each sibling is treated by their parents. Since she was the youngest and the least likely to make a fuss, her big brother took her duckling when her father ordered him to test the obedience training of his dog Jackie. Adeline immediately sensed her duckling’s fate; she...
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