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on 6 November 2000
Hi! My names Alice and I'm 13 years old.......i live in Suffolk in England and recently when I went camping with family friends I read Chinese Cinderella and was very moved. I wanted to know what happened to Adeline Yan Mai after she went to the English Collage and so read Falling Leaves it is an amazing,powerful book that is well worth a read. I promise you will never take your loving family for granted again after you've read the story of a struggle for an unwanted child. This book is the story of one very courageous woman.
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2003
I was browsing the site and I came upon this book which I read about 2 years ago. As soon as I saw the title I felt that I really should write a review because it was such an emotional experience reading this book. The author takes us through the death of her mother soon after her birth (the child being deemed a token of bad luck in China), the effect this had on her family relations and also the effect her father's subsequent marriage had on the family. You will tear your hair out with frustration because you want Adeleine to seek revenge on the family that treated her so badly. But for me the most important message in this book lies in the fact that rather than seek revenge she instead channelled her energy into putting together this well written account of her life. This book is full of lessons and different people will extract different things from it. It is definitely worth a read though if only to get an insight into a wealthy, yet emotionally bereft family living in China in the latter half of the 20th century. I would also recommend "Watching the tree" by the same author which deals with a lot of the Chinese philosophies raised in this book.
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on 21 April 2005
My god, what an amazing book! From chapter 4 onwards I struggled to hold back my tears and felt thousands of needles piercing my heart when I read about Adeline's Niang slapping her ferociously because her friends wanted to celebrate their success. What made terribly sad was the way her siblings excluded her and her father who constantly ignored her. This is amazing book by someone who suffered throughout her childhood and overcame all obstacles to emerge triumphant. Adeline Yen Mah is an inspiration to thousands who have step-mothers and the best advice I can give you is to not only read Falling Leaves, but all the books she has written.
By Parisa diba Age 14
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on 27 August 2001
After reading Adeline Yen Mah's re-written best-seller of 'Falling Leaves'-'Chinese Cinderella', I had to pick up a copy of this book. It is a heart-rendering tale, of what it was like being an unwanted, young Chinese girl, living in a livid constant fear of shame, disappointment and a seclusion of darkness in China during the Civil war. It is both amazing and shocking, to find this has actually took place in real-life, and is phenomenal to hear that Adeline has actually survived all of the goings-on of her traumatic past, emerging victorious and sure . Not only does this book unfold the painful tragedy of loneliness and fear, but it also gives an extremely deep insight of what went on in China. Adeline struggles for acceptance, as an illuminating a tale of humiliating and horrific abuse, leaps from every page, to which opens my eyes to see the determination of Adeline, able to survive and succeed. That is why I give this book an enduring five stars.
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on 5 October 2002
I've read both books 'Chinese Cinderella' and'Falling Leaves' by Adeline Yen Mah. Although I read Chinese history,especially from the period of the beginning of the Ching Dynasty until its vanquish at the hands of anti-Imperial forces with the coming into being of the Republic of China under Dr Sun Yat Sen,and then through to the period of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s until the beginning of economic reforms in the 1970s,I am always captivated by autobiographical accounts of the lives of individuals,usually members of what one would call the Chinese diaspora, like that of Adeline Yen Mah.Reason:They usually tell you of their hardended views when expressing lives in China under the Communists in the early years, and their changed views(like that of Adeline ) of China today.
It has also proven that a changed environment - from a troubled China to Hong Kong and to UK and USA - has not changed,at least in attitude and thoughts, or much of them,anyway, in the Chineseness of a Chinese,wherever he or she may be.Forget the reason.Look at the number of trips she made back to China to see Aunt Baba and sister Lydia.
Of course, the author has made Falling Leaves even more interesting by talking about herself and family members,especially her stepmother.Even being Communist does not mean you are not interested in a lot of wealth.Having a lot of personal wealth doesn't mean you're not interested in some more. There is a trait in individuals that cannot change wherever you may be.
Most of all, Adeline's English is so good and she can really tell a story well so that when you pick up her book it is a page-turner to the end.Which was my own experience when I read after dinner till 3 in the morning!
S C Chan
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on 26 April 2000
Falling Leaves is one of the best books I have ever read! I am in year 9 and my class read Chinese Cinderella, which is her next book which finishes when she is 14. While we were reading it I was amazed by this book and wanted to read more. So when I read that there was another book called Falling Leaves that was her full autobiography I went and bought it straight away. I finished this book in two weeks because it was so interesting and kept making me want to keep reading. All through the book I felt so sorry for Adeline because she was clearly a very nice girl who cared a lot for her family and they used to treat her like dirt which also made me angry. I think it is wonderful how although Niang told her she was a nothing, she still managed to become a very successful doctor. I also think that her Father really did care about her but was just scared of Niang, he made me angry at times-the way he just went along with everything that Niang said. It is also really amazing how she kept going back and being nice to her family after the way they used to treat her. I think Adeline was very lucky to have someone like Aunt Baba and Ye Ye who were the only ones who cared about her. When I read that Falling Leaves was a best seller I was not surprised. This is definatly my favourite book and I think everyone should read it.
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on 18 May 1999
I was in tear when I read the book halfway. I guess I shared the same lonely childhood to become a doctor. But I am glad that I wasn't abused emotionally or physically deeply as her. Adeline is a very courageous woman who survives.
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on 20 June 1999
I read this book after seeing an interview of Adeline on tv. Unprepared for how gripping and sickening this book would be, I read it and discovered it to be one of the most wonderful books ever! This book deserves all the praise that it gets! This terrible tale of emotional abuse will effect even the most cold hearted. It is quite definitely a must read!
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on 6 October 2010
I randomly picked up this book from the library at work and i am glad I did.
It is a very touching story of a chinese daughter who through her childhood was constantly battling, against all odds, to gain the love and support of her family, most of the time unsuccessfully. It is amazing that she has survived it all to become a successful physician and in a loving relationship. It is also shocking to read the mistreatment her own siblings subjected on her.

I was slightly disappointed though, that the book concentrated greatly on providing details on the business dealings of her father, their elaborate lifestyle and travels, and the ongoings in the lives of her many siblings. I would have wanted to hear more about her young life, in more detail, for example how she survived the boarding school. Somehow i felt that the author was trying very hard to write the book in a positive manner but in the process she has left out all the important and little details which would have put the reader more in touch of how actually it was to grow up in those circumstances. At some points, it feels a bit fake.

Overall it is a great read, but somehow there were some moments where I wanted to know more about an experience she had but as i turned the page, the author had already moved on to something else.
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on 5 February 1999
The story as told by Ms Yeh differs from others in two main ways. It is not a story of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, but of a family twisted by various forces, and eventually irreconcilably damaged. The human element is the effect of vices so ordinary as snobbery and laziness which result in very unfilial and anti-social behaviour by certain members of the family. If you have read Wild Swans you must read this, it is similarly thought-provoking, and easier to read.
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