Chinese Cinderella is the vivid memoir of Dr. Adeline Yen's bitter and lonely childhood. She had four brothers and two sisters, but her days were lonely as she was alienated from her family because they blamed her for her mother's death. She was bullied and tormented and physically abused, and experienced “a dreadful loneliness.”
This book is mostly set in Shanghai, China, during the years of Japanese occupation. At the time, young Adeline's father was a wealthy businessman. Soon after his first wife's death, he married Adeline's stepmother--a young, sophisticated, cruel woman, who was merciless, even as she was kind to her own children.
Dr. Yen's tone and writing are, in my estimation, pitch-perfect. With beautiful prose, she creates the setting, dialogue, pacing, and descriptions that depict little Adeline's quandary--she was a brilliant, well-behaved little girl among people who had no appreciation for her gifts and talents.
This book is sure to draw any reader in. It's certainly the most poignant book I've read this year. Little Adeline was remarkably tough and showed great character and spirit. Chinese Cinderella is a book about a triumphant little girl. Though it's a book almost anyone with a heart will appreciate, I especially recommend it for schools and YA book clubs. (Countless scenes could start great discussions with young adults.)
Chinese Cinderella is destined to be a classic.--Yolanda A. Reid