Customer Reviews for

Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A Heart and Gut Wrencher

This book provoked so many feelings! There were times you wanted to jump in and just wrap your arms around the author when she was a little girl. Then towards the end you start to feel anger and hatred towards those around her. This book is worth reading! There isn't mu...
This book provoked so many feelings! There were times you wanted to jump in and just wrap your arms around the author when she was a little girl. Then towards the end you start to feel anger and hatred towards those around her. This book is worth reading! There isn't much else to say. Read it!!! :)

posted by Anonymous on July 22, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Waa Waa Waa What a whinner!

I kept reading ... hoping it would get better. This woman has no idea how to appreciate what she has. She complains about how terrible her childhood was and I then presumed she would try her best to be a great mother. BUT she had so little to say about the joys of be...
I kept reading ... hoping it would get better. This woman has no idea how to appreciate what she has. She complains about how terrible her childhood was and I then presumed she would try her best to be a great mother. BUT she had so little to say about the joys of becoming a mother and then obviously with no lesson learned from her own childhood I am sure her children had the same miserable life. I wanted to smack her and say wake up. You are missing out on everything, get over it.

posted by AHappyProudMom on June 20, 2009

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

    Interesting, not good or bad

    Admittedly this is a well written book although occasionally a bit melodramatic. I suspect she exaggerated at times, such as when she talks about her older sister and stepmother but overall I enjoyed it. It contained much of the fascinating history of the Cultural Revolution and of her family and was hard to put down. It told the story of how Adeline and her siblings went to college in England and made her way into the world as a doctor. It also contained the mystery of the search for her father's will and the hatred among her siblings and stepmother. I find it amazing that she endured so many hardships throughout her life, even after she left China. Personally, I liked the book before Falling Leaves, Chinese Cinderella. However this book is interesting and captivating in it's own way. I liked the way she described her family's dysfunction and how she felt about it. She writes as good as any author, even if English wasn't her first language. However I think she may have portrayed her stepmother and her sister a bit harshly. Furthermore, she concentrates on the family she had not the family that she creates. She only mentions her children a few times, and talks mostly about her siblings and Niang. In my opinion I wish she had talked about her husband and children more. Moreover, it was a bit boring at times, like when she tries to explain the relationships between her and her siblings. Overall, this book is interesting but not spectacular. If you like this book I would recommend The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, Maximum Ride by James Patterson, Name Me Nobody by Louis Ann Yamanaka, The Devil's Arithmetic, and The Last Thing I Remember.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2006

    High School student

    Falling Leaves is an autobiography about the author Adeline Yen Mah. Adeline Yen Mah born into a wealthy family in Tianjin, pre revolutionary China. Adeline Yen Mah was born fifth child, she was born unwanted. She is known as the child that ¿killed her mother¿. Her situation becomes even more unbearable when her father remarries a second time to Niang who was beautiful but very cruel. To Adeline it seems that her primary interest in life was to manipulate and cause emotional abuse. Niang focuses her anger on Adeline. Niang sends Adeline too many boarding schools she makes sure that none of Adeline¿s family ever contacts her. She spends most of her years in boarding schools, studying every day. Adeline uses studying as away to escape from the world. She knows that education would be her only to freedom. After she wins a playwriting completion her father agrees to send her to university in England with her brothers. However she can only study medicine. When she returns to Hong Kong as an intern in 1963, her stepmother forces her to sleep at the hospital, rather than stay in the families four bedroom flat. Adeline accepts low wedges instead of a prestigious position as a Medical Lecturer. To escape from her oppressive parents she accepts a residency job in America. She writes about her years of abuse with her first husband. The book begins with the reading of her fathers will. After she discovers her father died penniless. Adeline Yen Mah takes us through her childhood all the way to the reading of her stepmothers will in 1990. Each chapter begins with a Chinese proverb. While reading this book you learn about her family history but you also learn about the Chinese cultures during that period of time. This book is often compared to Cinderella it¿s also known as the ¿Chinese Cinderella¿. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in different culture

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    The truth about Falling Leaves

    Adeline Yen Mah's Falling Leaves is a book of a girls journey towards acceptance, love and understanding. When Adeline is born her mother passes away after her birthand grows up without a mother and to a family that didn't appreciate her presence which made her feel that she had to search for love somewhere else. Soon after her father marries Jeanne Virginie Prosperi whose daughter of a French father and a Chinese mother. Jeanne, Adeline's stepmother beats her and treats her different from the other kids. Adeline later finds a man who she thought was worthy of her love, but ends up being bad to her and also ends up beating her. Her whole life she searches for acceptance and someone who will acknowledge her. I thought the book was powerful, but had some weaknesses as well. I think this book is for more of the female gender. What makes this book so powerful is that although Adeline has so many problems, she's still able to get through school and her life. The reason why I didn't like it was because at times it got kind of boring and lost its place. If you're a type of person whose sympathitic towards what one has experienced, it being abused, this memoir would be interesting to read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2002

    Reading for a Rainy Day

    The life story of Adeline Yen Mah is not an unusual story by the world¿s standards, but the fact that she has had a relatively normal life while living in the tumultuous China of the 50`s, is unique. The author is faced with much conflict in her early years. This is the poignant story of Adeline, as a young girl, being un-wanted and rejected by her step-mother. Adeline Yen Mah has a character and style all her own, which must stem from sustaining her sense of self-worth under the bereavement from her stepmother. The book captures the spiritual essence of Adeline¿s family and what the true meaning of ¿family¿ really is. Love and praise: that which Adeline is denied as a child, becomes her quested grail. The story of her finding a place in a family that from the very beginning has resented her, is one of bittersweet courage. The steely resolve of the author as a child brings an almost heroic quality to her, as she struggles through her childhood. The analysis and description of each of her siblings draw the reader into a personal yet vicarious relationship with each of Adeline¿s family-members and this sets the intimate mood of the entire book. This book gets high marks for intimacy and character development, but lacks objective opinions or new perspectives. Falling Leaves is a well written Cinderella tale, good for a rainy day and a cup of coco, but not for a discussion group for a lack of debatable issues.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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