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Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Emotionally captivating

    Adeline Yen Mah's memoir, Falling Leaves, is so full of detail, from the author's experiences as a child and adult to the setting. I felt like I traveled into the book and shadowed the author throughout the story. Her vivid language and dialog really helped me to visualize the scenes For example, whenever Niang is being horrible to someone, you feel bad because you can imagine a cruel person saying the dialog to you. Her words are so powerful; I felt happy when the future was actually looking bright for her and indignant when Niang found another way to make her life miserable. Her will to succeed against all odds is so strong and inspiring. She doesn't just write about her own unfortunate life, but also that of her siblings, showing that she cares about her family even if they don't care about her. Aunt Baba treats Adeline with an unconditional love hat all children should receive from their family. While no one else sees her worth, Aunt Baba encourages her and pushes her to succeed, saying that she'll have the best future out of all of her siblings. Her historical recount of China was detailed and interesting to read, not at all boring. The emotions portrayed in the memoir were astounding. The author wrote about her troubled past, but it did not feel like it was because she wanted pity, but because she wanted her story to be heard. Compared to Adeline Yen Mah's other novel for children, Chinese Cinderella, Falling Leaves was much more enjoyable. While Chinese Cinderella was a riveting tale about the author's childhood, it was not quite as powerful as her memoir for adults. Falling Leaves had more detail about the time period, experiences, and the author's own emotions. However, I recommend Chinese Cinderella if you enjoyed this memoir because it gives you more of an idea about where her life stemmed from.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2002

    A touching and powerful memoir

    Through vivid characterization and emotional descriptions, Adeline Yen Mah slowly reveals the painful, hidden secrets of her childhood in her powerful memoir Falling Leaves. Were it set in a time of brilliant castles and gallant princes, this reflective piece could easily pass for a fairy tale, but written on the real life experiences of a developing girl during one of China¿s most trying periods, and the fantasy quickly changes to a story of the human struggle, will, and need for acceptance. Not only does Falling Leaves provide a touching account of Adeline¿s strongest desire for a strong, united family, but it also tells of something larger that affected the entire nation. Adeline¿s story contained more elements of the Communist society her parents escaped from than she ever realized. The frustration of seeing the children so powerless in the face of their manipulative stepmother, the anger of not being able to rescue Adeline during her frequent emotional and physical abuse, and the admiration of the tenderness of Aunt Baba¿s heart even when she had been wrongfully treated could not have been felt with more meaning and understanding. The plot progresses with an intangible anticipation, and every chapter holds a meaningful proverb which describes not only Adeline¿s current situation, but also the traditions of the Chinese people. Despite the emotional pain, personal hardships, and unresolved family conflicts, Adeline¿s final reflections on the true meaning of life leave an unforgettable landscape of comfort and serenity. The golden leaves will gently float down to the welcoming soil of their birth, time will quietly sail on its path, and a new generation will timidly nudge its tender green buds into the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

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