50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 27
Title: Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Author: Adeline Yen Mah
Hooray for more non-fiction, but first an apology. I’ve really been slacking, not at the reading, but at the reviewing. I read this book almost two weeks ago but hadn’t had time to write this up. I’m going to make better efforts readers, for the few of you that are there. Adeline Yen Mah’s life changed forever
when her mother died. Her father, still a healthy and relatively young man remarried and brought a stepmother into Adeline and her siblings’ lives that would make a Grimm brother have night terrors. Adeline’s stepmother isn’t simply cruel, she is seemingly deranged at times. She quickly creates a physical and mental caste system within the household, her two children Susan and Franklin as well as Adeline’s older sister Lydia are the only children that are able to live in the restricted upper level of the house and are the only children who are given everything they desire. The children are often victims of the stepmother’s cruelty, saying that the children did not need tram fare to get to school even in the blistering cold, but relenting after they begged for it.
There is one harrowing incident where a pet duckling Adeline is given named PLT (Precious Little Thing) is used to see if their father’s dog Jackie will attack. Needless to say it does and PLT is mortally wounded. I think it does merit saying that Adeline’s life wasn’t without it privileges, she was an excellent student and with the permission of her father and step mother was permitted to study medicine in Europe. Of course it was they who wanted her to study medicine; she wanted to be a writer. Adeline does extremely well in school but instead of concentrating in obstetrics she concentrates in anesthesiology. Adeline’s studies eventually take her to the United States where she enters unknowingly into a sham marriage and has a son, whom she loves very much.
Adeline does everything she can think of to win favor with her stepmother and father but never seems to be able to succeed. Her desire to be accepted by her family leads her to search for the truth that her stepmother has kept hidden for many years.
Overall rating: 3/5