My friend, KM, lent me this book, that she borrowed from the Surrey County Library.
Adeline Yen Mah’s memoir is very sad. Be ready to cry, and wanting to tell the father and step-mother, “How could you be so cruel?”
Adeline’s family is wealthy in mainland
Adeline’s disaster starts when her mom dies shortly after giving birth to her. The father is distraught and unconsciously blames her for destroying the family order. He doesn’t take long to remarry, while recruiting his single sister to take care of the kids.
The second wife, Niang, is half-French, half-Chinese. She enjoys having money but not having step-children. She sets all the children against each other. She convinces her husband that the children and his father and other relatives are greedy. The children are deprived of food sometimes; they are treated like second-class citizens. The father does make sure that the children receive excellent educations. All attend Catholic schools and go abroad to attend university.Niang has two children, whom she treats better than the stepchildren, but only when they obey her without question. When her daughter disagrees, she is disinherited. The stepchildren fall in and out of favor throughout the years and also get disinherited at one time or another.
And the way that the father treats his own father, you would think that the father is a beggar. No respect for the elderly at all.
Niang makes Cinderella’s stepmother look like an angel.
Despite all this, Adeline finds ways to survive. Her aunt and grandfather protect her as much as possible. She devotes herself to her studies and reading to escape her world. She becomes a doctor and finds a soul mate. She remains positive and hopeful that her family can be united one day.
I understand how Niang got her power over everyone, but I don’t understand why the father married her in the first place. Many of my Chinese friends, who moved to the
This story is also relates the story of non-Communist Chinese citizens, how they flee and need to start over in new lands.
Be prepared to get angry. Vow to treat your stepchildren better. Vow to speak up for mistreated stepchildren.