Adeline Yen Mah was born in Tianjin, China. Her mother died two weeks after her birth and Adeline was considered to be a source of bad luck by her family.
Her father remarried a beautiful Eurasian woman one year later. She was half French and half Chinese and divided the Yen family into two different classes. Adeline's father, stepmother and their two children were the upper class, whereas Adeline and the four other step-children by the first wife were considered second class. ~ from Adeline Yen Mah's publisher
This is a unique story of triumph over adversity, told against the background of the Nationalist/Communist struggle for control of China. Adeline Yen Mah’s family considered her to be bad luck because her mother died shortly after giving birth to her. They discriminated against her and singled her out for cruel treatment, eventually abandoning her in a convent school. Yen Mah tells her story with extraordinary honesty and without bitterness, making this an absorbing read for young people. Eventually she proved her worth at school earning the respect of her teachers and friends. ~ Andrea Reece
What's the hook? A fascinating and moving autobiographical novel. What are the themes? Different cultures, families/generations, friendship, school life and the individual vs society. Teaching points? Excellent for multicultural work, as it is set against a background of life in Japanese occupied China. Ideal for exploring narrative structure as it is told simply as a series of snapshots. Comparative work opportunities as it includes the original story of Cinderella that originated in the Tang dynasty (AD 618-908).
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