Thursday, October 31, 2013

Girl in Translation

Author: Jean Kwok
Goodreads Rating: 3.94
Pages: 304
Format: Finished Copy Purchased

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.

My Secret Reader for the month of October picked this book out for me, and I was a little bit bummed at first. I had gotten the book years ago when Borders was shutting down after a recommendation from a friend. Back then I was hardly even looking at YA books and had been reading a fair amount of adult literature. This was also prior to my discovery of Goodreads and the way all the pretty covers can make me want books. Anyway, I was a little bummed because I was hoping I could knock off some older YA books I haven't read yet, but I was delighted to read this book.

Girl in Translation was the best way to break up the monotony that YA can bring. I didn't have to worry about the cute guy being part stalker part hunk, or even entertain the idea of instalove. This book was everything that I miss about adult reading. It was evenly paced and beautifully written and while there was no big plot line where some big bad is lurking in the corner, it was a simple and heartbreaking tale about a girl who came to America with big dreams, and while it got hard at times, she never gave up.

I really adored Kimberly and how witty she was. All the Chinese insults were fresh and interesting and while you couldn't always get what they meant right away, an explanation wasn't too far behind. I also loved that while the characters were speaking in Chinese, the text was in English never leaving me to puzzle out what was being said or having to wait for the author to provide a halfhearted explaination.

I felt that each of the characters were wonderfully written and characterized. They were all their own unique person and not carbon copies of each other. While they were frustrating or down right awful, it was great to have people be so different. I felt that all the descriptions of all the characters were wonderful, I could vividly see many of them in my mind. I really enjoyed this book and I'm glad that my Secret Reader picked it for me!

The Courts Decision:


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...