Book Review|Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

ChineseCinderellaChinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

by Adeline Yen Mah

This story begins in 1941 when Adeline is four years old and tells of growing up as an unwanted fifth child of a wealthy family.  Adeline’ s mother died giving birth to her. Because of this, Adeline was considered ‘bad luck’. Adeline’s father remarried and two more children were added to the family. This is not the tale of a happy childhood, but is a story of perseverance and hope.

Chinese Cinderella is an easy to read memoir of Adeline’s childhood until age fourteen. The message is a positive one of working hard and believing in yourself even if no one else does. This book encourages the reader to understand and remember that everyone has value and potential.

The historical tidbits throughout are interesting without being overwhelming. The depictions of the family dynamics and culture felt genuine. I enjoyed this read.

The topics in this book can be a springboard for discussion of many issues.

There are instances of cruelty and neglect, both physical and emotional.


In one part of the book, Adeline is bitten by her father’s dog.

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