It’s a little shocking to realize that, in some respects, the experience of newly-arrived immigrants to the United States may not have changed all that much in a century, but Jean Kwok's accomplished first novel, Girl in Translation, suggests that perhaps it hasn’t. Read more >
I am not a fan of the prologue and will confess that I often skip them completely -- or read them after I've finished the book. I didn't skip the prologue of Girl in Translation and was pleasantly surprised to find myself liking it and looking forward to the story that Jean Kwok was about to tell us. But, by the time the book reached its conclusion, I found myself wishing I'd skipped the prologue after all. It was my own fault. I made assumptions about Ah-Kim's choices based on my previous experiences with books about poverty, immigration, and young women who find themselves with fewer choices than they should have. I should have known better, from the very first page: Read more >
When I finished Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, I sighed a sigh that is only done when a book is terrific -- part satisfaction at a completing a book well-written, part melancholy that the book has ended. I seriously loved it. The story was gripping, both uplifting and harrowing. Quite simply, this was the best book I have read in a long time. Read more >
From the beginning through the end of Jean Kwok's Girl in Translation I lived the life of Kimberly Chang, a young Hong Kong immigrant who came to New York with her mother. Both had high expectations that they would find opportunities and a better life. Read more >
A bedroom crawling with cockroaches and rats, New York winters without heat, the early death of her father, the struggle to keep up in school in her second language, and nights spent bagging dresses in a sweatshop. The challenges facing Girl in Translation's Kimberly (“Ah-Kim”) Chang are overwhelmingly difficult and had me sneaking in a few minutes of reading whenever I could to see how she and her mother were holding up. Read more >
I had a crisis in Forever 21 today. No, it wasn't because I couldn't find any bubblegum pink platform heels to match my new mod mini. (Note: They have stripper heels in every color!) It was because I had just finished reading Jean Kwok's Girl in Translation and realized that most everything around me was likely made in a sweatshop exactly like the one she describes working in growing up in Brooklyn. Read more >
Girl in Translation is a novel that women will read and want their daughters to read. It is a story of a girl who transition in multiple ways. This novel takes the reader on a journey of not only cultural and language transitions, but also the passage every woman goes through to become who they are destined to be.
From the first page you are shown a woman who has a past that she still struggles with. Read more >
Jean Kwok wrote Girl in Translation in a way that makes it easy to picture how Kimberly Chang and her mother lived. I could picture the sweat shop and their disgusting, unheated, roach- and rat-infested apartment. I read the book able to see them using stuffed animal fur for warmth after digging it out of the trash.
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When I was teaching developmental English at Community College of Philadelphia, Girl in Translation just the kind of book I was looking for -- a clear narrative line, straightforward syntax, a manageable vocabulary, but with some complexity and which addressed real social issues. Read more >