Jean Kwok: Girl in Translation

Like to thank veryone who s posted here Whether you love the book or hate it doesn t matter I m just glad you ve taken the time to read it 355 stars rounded up There s a Chinese saying that the fates are winds that blow through our lives from very angle urging us along the paths of time Those who are strong willed may fight the storm and possibly choose their own road while the weak must go where they are blown I say I have not been so much pushed by winds as pulled forward by the force of my decisions If you are an immigrant who came to United States read this bookIf you are a person who thinks of migrating to United States read this book If you are a person who lived in United States your whole life read this book This book will help you see the things you knew of but ignored for so long it will knock off the pink glasses you view the world through right off your head and then hit you with them for good measure too My family moved to United States about 10 years ago and while my xperience was thankfully nothing like hers some things sang true anyway It s that line between the illusion and reality that many people try to blur out but it stands out big time for those who Empire of the Saviours (Chronicles of a Cosmic Warlord, experienced it firsthand I m going to be honest though I feel betrayed by this book I loved it so much adored itven all the way through but then the Ex On The Beach ending happened and literally ruinedverything for me I was so sure that this was a 5 star read and in some sense it still is there s just too much important and amazing stuff in it to ignore but personally I didn t like how some things were handled in the Good Thinking end We would be allowed to work and not cause any trouble for her but she didn t want us to be any successful than she was I usually don t have good luck with coming of age novels I like them to somextend but then there s always something that ruins the whole xperience for me But let s start with the good stuff first I loved that Kwok wasn t holding her punches when it came to ruining the image of the American dream For some reason it s an image that is mbedded into the minds of all of those who migrate to United States Better future better jobs better housing Baccarat : La lgende du cristal ect When it comes to this story it was nothing like that Due to some poor family relations Kim and her mothernd up in a dead O Colégio de Todos os Segredos end job which was also illegal and basically a slavexploitation but since they don t know better that s all they ve got Their place is unlivable to the point to where I honestly think it would have been smarter for them to be homeless than stay in that apartment but stay they did Despite coming to America and wanting to March Violets (Bernie Gunther, experience it they were stuck for years and years onnd in Chinatown without barely Zoete tranen experiencing anythinglse Mostly due to not having any money but also due to her mother s very traditional and limited views on the other cultures The Girl in Transition showed a very ugly but very true side of mass production of clothing and because of that I will never again set foot into a store that manufactures its products in sweat shops Yes sweat shops still Water Music exist and not only in China India or Bangladesh in the United States too To name a few companies that stillxploit people for 2 an hour Forever21 HM Zara Victoria s Secret Aldo Banana Republic and sadly many many google it and you will see I knew this before but for some reason reading it on paper made it sound so much real It s hard to believe that conditions in which Kim and her mother had to live still Revived exist to this day it definitely sounds like something from a movie but they definitely do Especially in big cities such as New York Philadelphia Chicago and such You wouldn t believe the conditions people have to live in because it sasier to pretend that it s just fiction that real life just can t be that cruel A thing that I found very not believable was how view spoilerpossibility of an abortion hide spoiler This was such a delightful read that I put off all the other things I was supposed to be doing today and read it in one sitting It is Saturday after all and I think I deserved a treatIt is a wonderful tale of a Chinese mother and daughter who migrate to America and find it not to be the land of plenty they had dreamed of I thought the author handled it perfectly in particular the way she presents the daughter s struggle with the English language However smart she is however hard she tries there will always be words and phrases she does not know and just one of these can make a whole sentence unintelligible I so wanted her to succeed that I was practically cheering her on through Student Research Projects in Calculus every test andvery challenge The pilogue was sad because of the choices she had to make but also very rewarding in her ventual achievements It is fiction but it could have been real I loved it I ve never read a book that described accurately what it is like to be an Asian American immigrantIt s like Ms Kwok took pieces of my own Love for Imperfect Things experience growing up in a cockroach infested apartment with parents scraping by by working multiple menial jobs and lines lifted from my friends stories calling anraser a rubber telling parents report cards came out only at the A Heart of Stone end of the year and merged them with a thrilling and thoroughly absorbing storyThe novel takes the Chinese immigrantxperience and lifts it from stereotypes it s true that Kim is naive and academically oriented but the author probes so deeply into her psyche and creates situations with such seriousness and honesty that she frees us from such simple labelsIn terms of language I thought Ms Kwok did a great job of transposing Cantonese conversations into English partly by keeping idioms and of making the English Kim hears sound foreign to the readers in a creative way She infuses the narration with Chinese mentality not unnaturally and cinches descriptions of harsh realities with delicately observed prose which far from seeming out of place helps tint the situations in fresh huesMore than anything the human connection in this novel is real like Matt the mother and colorful characters along the way Mr Al Mr Jamali the African American man who comes to fix their heater the delight of these characters in the face of patheticness misery and weakness moved meI found the Taking Instruction (Taboo, endingxtremely dissatisfying though it really didn t add anything new to the story and possibly uprooted all the good things that the novel had built up to that point But I guess my philosophy ultimately differs from Kim s and good Asian American literature is so rare that I m giving this book five stars anywayReceived free through Goodreads First Reads. Factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but also herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

I see I m against the grain here but I was not into this book AT ALL I read it for my Kinshasa book club if not for that I would have stopped halfway through The story is the most average unsurprising coming of age tale I have Language and Linguistics ever read The fact that the girl grows up working in a sweat shop would have been shocking if I was as naive as the main character s best friend Annette And the love of her life made no sense She kept calling him beautiful talked about what a wonderful person he was but he pretty much demands that she spend her life living in a crappy apartment in Chinatown having babies starting at 18 dropping out of school and basically give upvery dream she d Divertimento ever had so that he can take care of her and be a man The big surprise hinted at on page one of the book was not a surprise at all when it is revealed 10 pages towards thend and it also didn t seem to Love Is a Fairy Tale effect her life s journey in any meaningful way which made no sense And I hated how Chinese language usage was written about here Almostvery page would have some random Chinese phrase that made not much but some sense in English The meaning could be inferred from context but the author Promise at Dawn every time insists on immediately aftervery line xplaining xactly what that meant Either allow the reader to figure it out and appreciate the uniueness of the language or translate it like you do the rest of the dialogue I found it to be so condescending to the reader An Bangkok Wakes to Rain example spoiler aheadYou have the big stomach She knew I was pregnantYeah no shit Thanks Somehow I managed to finish this book though I complained about it thentire time I know my own fault I should have shut up or stopped reading it I could not understand the rave reviews about it and couldn t fathom that people had read the same book that I was reading until I realized a consistent flaw in how we review both books and film too often people are praising the story itself rather than the telling of the story Which is what I believe happened with this book I suffered through the whole thing because the author had a compelling story to tell I was so irritated throughout the read though because it was told so poorly There was virtually no character development The characters were flat one dimensional The Right Sort of Man (Sparks Bainbridge Mystery either all good or all bad The settings were ripe for really juicy details but we were not given them The fact that the author covers over two decades in under 300 pages shows how much things are glossed over It felt like the worst kind of adolescent literature the best kind being those that actually tell stories with vivid descriptive in depth language regardless of the fact that they are written for children Yes the immigrantxperience is a fascinating topic yes her story made most of our American childhoods look pretty cushy but reading it felt like the literary Darkmere euivalent of really bad junk food 45 I read Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok at a time when I read little fiction I found the book at one of my favorite places the check out counter at the library and grabbed it because of its vivid colored cover In this debut novel Kwok tells the story of Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrants from Hong Kong to Brooklyn Forced to live in a condemned apartment and work in horrid conditions because their sponsor Kimberley s aunt feels as though they are burden on society Kimberly grows up in poverty Forced to forge her mother s signature and speak withvery adult necessary to get by in society because her mother can not learn English Kimberly is also forced to grow up fast She has one saving grace that leads her to attend a private school she is near genius level in math Math being the universal language therefore English is not necessary to achieve high marks Despite a teacher discovering Kimberly s talent and pulling strings to get into this prestigious school Kimberly still has to work alongside her mother at a clothing factory in Chinatown after school because they have no money for childcare and because her work is needed to help meet daily piecemeal uotas While at the factory Kimberly meets Matt He is from a poor family in Chinatown and has no ambition to Et si la maladie n'tait pas un hasard ? ever leave however he is one of few other adolescents at the factory and they develop a close friendship thatndures through their high school years As Kimberly navigates her private school and all the typical milestones that come with it her aunt grows and resentful of her and tries with all her power to prevent the Changs from achieving the American Dream just out of spite Without giving much Den of Shadows (Gamblers Den else away the second half of the novel focuses on how Kimberly slaves in the factory while hiding her double life fromven her closest of school friends I Scraps Of The Untainted Sky enjoyed this book a great deal because it speaks of an immigrantxperience I am otherwise unfamiliar with These are legal immigrants yet they fall through nearly as many of the same cracks as the illegals we constantly hear about Because this is fiction Kimberly uses her math to obtain a happy The Eric Carle Gift Set ending however not all real life immigrants are nearly as fortunatespecially if they do not have a strong work Huguenot Prophecy and Clandestine Worship in the Eighteenth Century ethic I recommend this to all looking for a change of pace contemporary fiction book and am looking forward to Kwok s second novel Mambo in Chinatown Remember the popular song in the 90s It s a Hard Knock Life That song kept popping into my head as I read this novel For Kimberly a Chinese immigrant residing in the slums of Brooklyn it s a hard knock life indeed Her mother and her come from Hong Kong when Kimberly is approximatelyleven years of age and fully dependent on Aunt Paula a jealous relative they find themselves living intimately with roaches and rats in a garbage bag in place of windows illegal apartment with no heat or air While struggling to learn English in public school Kimberly also helps her mom work in Aunt Paula s sweatshop Kimberly soon realizes that the only way to turn her sob story into a success story is thru Fashion Design Course education This novel is all about her school years from the age ofleven to the time of graduation when a very adult Kimberly tries to get her mother and herself out of the roach infested apartment and far away from Aunt Paula s control and wrath It s a journey full of hard knocks but this gal doesn t let life knock her down Reading about Kimberly growing up finding herself and growing a backbone was like watching a flower Aeralis (The Frost Chronicles, evolve from a bud to a fully opened delight Can this girl that barely speaks any English and curls up with blankets from a dumpster while stomping on the floor to scare off roaches achieve the American dream Ca. When Kimberly Chang and her mothermigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn sualor she begins a secret double life xceptional schoolgirl during the day Chinatown sweatshop worker in the.

N a young immigrant dressed in rags and castoffs find love Scholarships are great but they don t guarantee happiness I really njoyed this I Cincinnati and Other Plays enjoyed seeing American public school from theyes of an immigrant I Speak Out! even found bits of humor here and there The Sahara pipeline the bra lady at Macy sLOL I found myself cheering for the heroine constantly To top it off it had a surprisending This is one that is staying on my bookshelf for sure I ve been in a really weird place with books lately Over the past weeks I ve read a lot of books and so far no one has been affective I Like You the Best enough to motivate me to go raving I m on what you can refer to as theternal hunt But what can I sayI read Girl in Translation after reading Nina s little convincing review which you can read here if you likeThank you Nina Now while Girl in Translation didn t really The collectors encyclopedia of antique marbles ensorcell me it did do something The story of Kimberly Ah Kim Chang is a very honest one the story of a Chinese girl who immigrates to America with her mother in hopes of a better lucrative life They carry along with them hopes and dreams and very honeyedxpectations which were soon crushed like mine were over the past few weeks with The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico every last page ofvery book I turned But moving on For years I calculated whether or not something was Lone Star Standoff expensive by how many skirts it cost In those days the subway was 100 skirts just to get to the factory and back a package of gum cost 7 skirts a hot dog was 50 skirts a new toy could range from 300 to 2000 skirts Iven measured friendship in skirts Kimberly s story is related in reminiscences using the first person narrative The story starts with Kimberly s arrival in America and follows her through high school and her life as a factory worker until about the last 7% of the book when the narration switches to the present I think there s a subtle wonderfulness to this story It s such a relatable story that involves day to day recounts of activities Kimberly and her mother s struggles and strives financially and culturally There s such a great importance placed on the benefits of Punishment Of The Cheating Wife education as Kimberly tells us in the beginning her talent isn t singing it isn t dancing or speed textingbelieve it or not this is actually a real talent in the light of the technological age Kimberly s talent was school and learning And some might sayBUT why not Education can also be a talent that s what I learnt from this book It was Kimberly s ticket to a better life her one golden ticket out of the rat and roach infested decrepit apartment she was forced to live in out of the oddities and privations that came with her foreignness I found itffective how the author delivered some conversations and sentences from characters not as a fluent English speaker would hear them but as Kimberly heard them With her very lacking and basic knowledge of English she understood words like ghetto as get dough More Punishment For His Cheating Wife extend asx T or window sill as winnie sealI loved Kimberly as a protagonist she was simply a model character and that isn t to say she did no wrong For me It was so Decision easy to find parts of myself in her It was disheartening to see that whilevery book does need a villain the villain in this book happened to be family Through Kimberly s The View from Alameda Island experience we see how awful and undignified it is to be at the mercy of someone anyone And maybe life had rubbed her in the wrong way but it bestowed upon her gifts like determination and perseverance and a drive to succeed and most of all a great appreciation for the little things that should count for a lot But in thend following all that was the main rub robis appropriate Sacrifice and the hard ground truth that life doesn t always go the way we planned and we might have to give A LOT to get back and reach a state of fulfillment or a sense of it at least You might not When Fox Is a Thousand end up the way you want You may need to change your dreams My little heart listenBut sometimes our fate is different from the one we imagined for ourselves You might notnd up with who you want And that love will become a passing but lingering thing In those days I wanted to believe our love was something tangible and permanent like a good luck charm I could always wear around my neck Now I know that it was like the wisp of smoke trailing off a stick of incense most of what I could hold on to was the memory of the burning the aftermath of its scent I know this book touched something in me It was so real and after I read it I knew it had to mean something to the authorsomething meaning something assuming all books mean something to the people who wrote them I listened to Jean Kwok talk about Girl in Translation and 100 Innovations of the Industrial Revolution earned a new found respect for her work Kwok shares her wishes and in the aftermath of Girl in Translation she hopes this of people Well the next time I see a foreigner who looks funny and has weird bags and can tven speak English that they might think Oh this could be a person who in her own language and culture is a very articulate wise funny person just like Kimberly Chang s motherI love this Kwok s final lines all the because I love Kimberly Chang s mother and her relationship with her daughter was Taken The Anthology exemplary which was also one of the nicest parts of this book In all honesty after listening to that speech I wish I could say myyes won t be uicker to judge than my brain to not judge but I think the fact that I m bothered and aware of it is a start I m very hesitant to review this book mostly because I m not uite sure how to put to words what it is that reading this has made me feelIt is at once both very familiar and yet completely foreign The Cantonese the way that the author translates the slang and the phrases the cultural traditions the deeply mbedded lifestyle that is Chinese pride and saving facewhen I read about that it was like something sparked in my blood This part I understand and I have livedBut then there s the fact that this story is told from the perspective of an immigrant to America and I am very much an ABC American born Chinese or as Aunt Paula would say a bamboo shoot So there s this whole other dimension of the story that is just as significant as the Cantonese that I simply can t comprehend It s as if I m a relative but once removedOverall I don t think I ve been as deeply moved by any other book I ve read this year than I have by this one I m left with a feeling of hollow sadness that I can t uite put my finger on and yet I don t mind For me this story is worth the weight of consciousness that has been left behind You probably don t want to listen to my rating because I m just a bit biased However I Evenings Disguising the 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

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