Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah. Book Review.
One of Beatles song was 'All You Need Is Love'. And love was what Adeline looked for when she was growing up.
Falling Leaves (first published in 1997) was written by Adeline Yen Mah, it is a memoir of an unwanted Chinese daughter. Sort of like an auto-bio of Adeline.
Born in 1937 to an affluent family, after one eldest sister and three brothers. She was number 5 in the family. Adeline's mom died not long after given birth to her. In those time, it was a bad omen when such a thing occur. The father loved the mother very much but when the mother died, he did not transfer those love to the children.
One year after, the father remarried a French Chinese lady. The children called her Niang, for the family the marriage was like hell on earth towards the children, grandparents and the sister of the father.
Adeline was bullied by the older siblings because they sort of blame her for the mom's death and also at that time, she was the youngest. When the step mom have her own children, one boy and a girl, the other siblings get bullied by their step brother.
They moved to Hong Kong when the communist came into power not long after World War 2. In Hong Kong, the father became more successful but in the household, no changes, still a hell hole.
Since young Adeline tried to pleased the father and Niang, she studied hard and was great in her school results..which make the other siblings jealous of her. The step mom will divided and conquered the siblings (she did not want them to be united against her).
She was good in her English. Her stories was her getaway from hell at home. She was sent to UK to study and she became a physician, went back to Hong Kong to work, after a while she decided to go to US. She became successful after much hardship there. Even when she was successful, she still yearn for her father's love and step mom's acceptance. Sadly it never happened. Her father may have loved her but would not dare show it because of the step mom.
By writing this story she wants to tell people that no matter how tough life is, there is always a silver lining out there and urge people not to give up on their dreams.
Note: If there is any movie adaptation base on this book, i really pity the lady who portrays the step mom. She will be the most hated person of all.