I Can't Say Enough About Girl in Translation

BlogHer Review

I had an opportunity to read Jean Kwok's Girl in Translation and I knew from the moment I read the description I would fall in love with it. I didn't think I would breeze through it in a matter of hours, but it was that good. Once I finished reading it I even did the good book sigh and was craving more.

The way the book is written you feel like you are sitting with Kimberly (the main character), having a cup of tea and chatting about her past. You can feel the pain she felt going through adolescence in America after moving from Hong Kong with her mother. You struggle along with her as she finds the balance between being a proper Chinese girl and an American. One line stuck out to me when she was describing the difference between American and Chinese students:

"Back home, a student was praised if she did well in her classes at school, but for these kids, good grades were not enough. They were also expected to play sports and an instrument, and have straight teeth as well. I too would be expected to become attractive and well-rounded."

The pressure she had to feel while in school is sometimes too much and you desperately want to help her. Then you read about her life working in her aunt's sweatshop with her mother and your heart breaks more. The only thought that enters your brain is, with family like this who needs enemies? Part of this struggle brought to mind the book and movie, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. If you liked that book, you will most definitely love this one.

Something else that I loved about Girl in Translation is in the beginning Kwok writes with the way she hears the words. It caught me off guard at first, I couldn't figure out what was going on and then when I read it aloud it hit me. This is what she heard, and it made it all that more personal for me.

I truly cannot say enough good things about this book. It is moving, it is powerful and it envelops you. I have every intention of picking it back up after I finish this and reading it from cover to cover again.


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