Chinese Cinderella

Chinese Cinderella : The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

4.05 (26,508 ratings by Goodreads)
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More than 800,000 copies in print!

From the author of critically acclaimed and bestselling memoir Falling Leaves, this is a poignant and moving true account of her childhood, growing up as an unloved daughter in 1940s China. A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In her own courageous voice, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph in the face of despair. Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her, and life does not get any easier when her father remarries. Adeline and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled with gifts and attention. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for -- the love and understanding of her family. Like the classic Cinderella story, this powerful memoir is a moving story of resilience and hope. Includes an Author's Note, a 6-page photo insert, a historical note, and the Chinese text of the original Chinese Cinderella. A PW BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR


"One of the most inspiring books I have ever read." -The Guardian
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Product details

  • Paperback | 205 pages
  • 137 x 206 x 15mm | 181g
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0385740077
  • 9780385740074
  • 83,126

Review quote

"This memoir is hard to put down." --Publishers Weekly, STARRED "Absorbing . . . . [A] rich depiction of a very different world." --School Library Journal "A captivating read." --Booklist
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About Adeline Yen Mah

Adeline Yen Mah was born in Tianjin, China and has lived in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and England. She is the author of the adult memoir Falling Leaves, which was a New York Times Bestseller and has sold over a million copies worldwide; Chinese Cinderella, her autobiography written for teens which has also sold over one million copies; and other novels. Adeline is Founder and President of the Falling Leaves Foundation, whose mission is to promote understanding between East and West and to provide funds for the study of China's history, language and culture. She and her husband have two children and live in California and London.
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Rating details

26,508 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 37% (9,695)
4 38% (10,180)
3 20% (5,235)
2 4% (1,073)
1 1% (325)

Our customer reviews

Every country and every people that resides have different culture and have different story to tell. From the most depressing experience of their lives from most unforgettable moments they felt in their childhood. But how can they manage to express and treasure those experiences forever? Some people write them on their journals or diaries, some record it through tapes and CDs, some tell their past lives from their grandsons and few write and compile their stories into a book. Adeline Yen Mah's short biography, exploring her childhood experiences, meant to be read and inspired other readers. She wrote this book for teens and young kids to express her desire and sadness in the past while living with her stepmother, living without desire, loosing hopes and dreams and losing her rights as a child of his father. She was born rich and born bad luck because of her mother's death, nobody desires to enter her life even her siblings except her aunt. Adeline struggles to grow when the days past. They are awfully sad and very painful for the readers. She was not welcome to the household as she carries bad luck, she find friends and a place where she belong, a place where only happiness can be found, the school. Her lives possessed with desires to achieve the top just to be recognized by her father. Her father, who only believed to fiction stories that her 2nd wife told, not believing that he already forgotten her first wife's children. As Adeline struggle to the top and gaining freedom in the end, she manages to show her success by education and share her success through books. She graduated in London Hospital Medical School in Europe with the help of a miracle, a winning piece that change her life forever. After a very long journey she practiced her course in California and become a teacher and author, and helping children in China to go to school and to make their wishes come true. This thin book is very emotionally uncontrollable; she wrote most of her depressing stories from the first chapter until the end and few not-quite-happy memories. This biography is not suitable for those people who have heart and eye problems; I suggest that you have to skip reading this book not to mention that this had a serious problem to childhood experiences. I live with a group of Chinese kids when I was young and agree that Chinese parents, teachers and other professionals are very strict with their children that I can't believe that Adeline have this gap and heart breaking experience with her parents. Although this is normal for a child, but this change my perspective towards other traditions and beliefs of Chinese people. This book is not as good as any biography book I read, but this book is very inspiring and consider that she implement education as a tool to succeed in life and trying to emphasize that expectation is not only give negative results but also positive. One thing that I observe from the book is that, she needed more attention to her parents and siblings. I'm not a psychologist but I think a child must grow needed high attention of the parents. At least, she succeeds in the end. I recommend this to all half Chinese kids, teens and adults who have the same experience with Adeline or readers that are curious to Chinese tradition. This black book is full of sad memories, so fragile that every reader wanted to keep it forever even the sadness keep on pouring inside the book. Adeline, you are a true beauty of success and you make Cinderella go gaga. more
by Kwesi Ian Jay M. Junsan
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