How Girl in Translation Has Changed My Life

BlogHer Review

I'm a different person than I was three days ago. I think I'm better. My eyes, mind and heart see and feel things in a new way. I'd never guessed that this book would end up changing bits and pieces of my world.

Girl in Translation is part fiction, part autobiography. It's about mother and her daughter who travel all the way from Hong Kong to begin a new life. Kimberly Chang and her mother arrive in New York city after her mother's sister brings them over. Quickly they learn that this new life is going to be far more difficult than they anticipated. The aunt quickly places the Chang family in the "projects" where they must live with no heat, broken windows, rodents, and insects crawling over everything and no warm clothes or blankets for the winters. Then, instead of the mother attending to Aunt Paula's children she and Kim are to work in the factory, aka sweatshop. Yes, Kim does get to attend school, but with speaking barely any English, having only a few lightweight, homemade clothes and not understanding this new culture she finds herself going from being a top student to failing.

The Chang family is struggling to survive. Kim decides that her talent for knowledge is the only thing she has and she is going to use it to save herself and her mother from this wretched life.

I didn't know what to expect at first, but I truly loved this book. You find yourself turning page after page to see how the Chang family will survive. You become in awe of little Kim and how incredibly gifted she is. You want them to succeed. I always thought that Asian cultures were quite strict. That wasn't a bad thing. I just remembered the pressure that kids at school had to get perfect grades, etc. I now wish our culture viewed education, manners, tradition a little more like them. I have so much respect for how the Asian cultures view family, education, respect, etc.

I have a new look on life. That doesn't happen very often from reading a book. I see people from other cultures who are living here in the states so differently now. I want them to figure the language, culture and their life out. I cannot imagine the things that some people must go through to try and make a better life for their children or themselves. I feel blessed for the little that we have, our health, food, home, education etc. I feel inspired to reach out more and be the type of person to believe in others and help them to succeed. I have always been a big believer in giving service to others no matter how small, but now I find myself wanting to reach out more. I wonder what the story is behind a family. Wouldn't the world be so amazing if we could all help each other out?

What wonderful writing Jean has done. I do hope that you guys will take the time to grab a copy for yourselves. I am sure that you will find yourself wanting to reach new heights and help others to do the same.

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