Girl In Translation – Jean Kwok
This is the story of a little Chinese girl who, along with her mother, is forced to emigrate to the US of A, in the hope of a better life. They live in dire poverty, always in constant fear of not understanding what is being said to them because the mother doesn’t speak a word of English and the daughter’s is not very good. The daughter does have an exceptional talent for grasping the things taught to her, though, and she begins to cash in on that, at school. Her aunt, who brought them to USA, doesn’t believe in making things easier for them. Will the girl and her mother make it? Will their dreams for a better future come true? That is what Girl In Translation is all about.
I was utterly disappointed by the book. My heart went out to the little girl trying to make the most of her difficult circumstances, but I began to feel, after a certain point, that the author was making her sound more responsible than she needed to be. She was a little girl after all. Lighten up, loosen up, I wanted to tell her. But then, too much of hardship must make a person that way?
Towards the middle of the book, though, the little girl grew up and became a teenager, and her behaviour began to sound utterly unreasonable. From the start, the book sounded dry and dull to me, and after this point, I started losing more and more interest. I did finish the book, though, because I didn’t like the idea of abandoning it.
This was a disappointing read for me, but I have heard of loads of people who simply adored this book. Maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
The Wednesday Sisters – Meg Waite Clayton
Genre: Fiction, Chick-lit, Women’s literature
This was a Goodreads recommendation, based on the types of books that I have read and liked in the past. And, am I glad I decided to take their recommendation?! Yes! I simply loved this book!
The Wednesday Sisters is the story of five women from the same neighbourhood, who meet in a park one fine day, and then continue meeting almost every Wednesday. The story begins in the 1960s, and follows the lives of these five women a decade or so hence. The women are soul sisters, friends, writing partners, dates, confidantes, buddies for their kids’ play dates, baby sitters and what not for each other – they are there for each other, they have got each other’s back. They go through a lot together – many smiles and much glory, the facing of a lot of changes thanks to the changing times and the feminist revolution, and a whole lot of tears and hiccups on the roads of life, too.
What I liked the most about the book was the way the author has built up the characters. I could identify with each woman in the group, her highs and lows. I loved the fact that the women encourage each other to read and write better, and the way the author has used this to show us how the state of our lives reflects often in what we read and write. The book made me smile, laugh, tear up, cry, and get all choked up – it stirred up a whole lot of things inside me, and it has been a long, long time since a book has made me this emotional. I loved the way the author has conveyed how anyone you come across in your day-to-day lives – even the invisible woman sitting next to you on the park bench as you take your kid to play there – has stories in their lives, if only you get close enough to see. And so do you!
You could classify this book as chick-lit, yes, but for me, there was so much that elevates it to a much higher level than a mindless chick-lit novel. I did feel that the ending was a tad abrupt, that things seemed to quite rushed up towards the end, but that didn’t take away from my reading of the book in any way.
All in all, this was a book that I immensely enjoyed, and would highly recommend to all of you. I can’t wait to read the sequel to this book, The Wednedsday Daughters, I think, as well as the other books by this author.
Have you read these books? What are your thoughts about them?
What are you reading at the moment?