Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.
Through Kimberly’s story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about.
Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.
I read this book a couple of months ago and I really loved it but then I was left in a state of distress. An ending to a fantastic novel that fails to meet my expectations usually ruins an entire book for me, but this book was so well written and moving that I still can’t help but rate it high on my list. While I was disappointed with the ending the book deserves notable mention as a good read. I just felt a little warning was needed especially to those who are easily disappointed by less than stellar endings.
The story documents the life and times of a Chinese immigrant girl Kimberly Chang and her mother who are thrust into a new life in America, namely New York City. Their lives are rough from the start. I rooted for their success throughout the book, but how far would you go to escape poverty? How much would you be willing to sacrifice?
Kimberly was an extremely selfless person who considered the future of not only herself but those who would be affected by her choices. She grew up quickly and became the one her mother depended on due to the language barrier. This explores her struggles, her accomplishments, her decisions and the outcome. Her selflessness was noble but at what cost?
This book is a quick read and really explores the difficulties the protagonist Kimberly and her mother face adjusting to a new culture and country. I was all in, until the last few pages and not because there wasn’t a happy ending or it wasn’t necessarily a love story but it really was anticlimactic. I was disappointed, to say the least, but I really thought over how affected I was by the story as a whole and in retrospect, it was well written.
Jean Kwok paints a vivid picture of life as an Asian American immigrant. She adequately describes the struggles many immigrants face entering a new country and essentially a new way of life. It shows not only the American experience but the struggle to achieve the American dream. This book is definitely worth a read but I’m giving you fair warning you may or may not love the ending. I’d love to know your thoughts on this book so comment, email, tweet, facebook, smoke signal, whatever ℓσℓ