Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter Paperback – 5 Mar 1998
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"I read for two nights, sleepless, my heart pierced by Adeline Yen Mah's account of her terrible childhood. "Falling Leaves "is a potent psychological drama pitting a stubborn little girl against the most merciless of adversaries and rivals: her own family. I am still haunted by Mah's memoir."
Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club
"Painful and lovely, at once heartbreaking and heartening."
Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"Brilliant, compelling, and unforgettable. A heartrending modern-day Cinderella story set against the turbulence of twentieth-century China. Autobiography at its best."
Nien Chang, author of Life and Death in Shanghai" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Author
Response from readers has exceeded my wildest dreams
For the first fourteen years of my life, I don't recall having opened my mouth once to volunteer a single spontaneous remark during any of the meal times I shared with my parents. Everything I repressed and dared not say as a child growing up in Shanghai is in Falling Leaves. I wrote it on behalf of all unwanted children in the hope that they will persist to do their best in the face of hopelessness, to believe that in the end their spirit will prevail, to transcend their abuse and transform it into a source of courage, creativity and compassion. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
By Parisa diba Age 14
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
It is after Adeline's birth, during the Japanese encroachment around Tianjin in 1937, that her mother succumbs to puerperal fever leaving five children motherless & the household rudderless. The family must watch as Father seeks & marries a beautiful young Eurasian woman.
From here on Adeline Yen Mah's memoirs take on a dour & malevolent aspect. In her scrupulous honesty, Adeline muses that Niang must have been happy in the beginning, however, she forced siblings to choose sides, spy on each other & curry her favor. This most beautiful of stepmothers singles out the infant girl with particular venom; until Adeline is banished to boarding schools.
I survived that particular exile myself, so I found this author's memories devastating as well as healing. Adeline Yen Mah manages to recount, without a scrap of self-pity or rancor, the years of betrayal & persecution until her scholarship, literally rescues her from her stepmother's clutches. In England & at medical school, Adeline thrives. Knowing the England of the 1950s I was fascinated & familiar with her experiences. I followed her adventures with growing gladness even as my heart dropped with every dreaded return to the withered core of her family.
Then she makes her way to America & falls for a handsome man; beauty is as beauty does & why, I wondered, would someone with Adeline's relationship training, know how to choose a good man?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What an incredibly well written book relating to past and present history that affects one little girl so much. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Angela
I loved this honest hearth warming storey. She gives me strength in her courage and determination. Excellent read.Published 14 days ago by Irene Alford
It took me a while to get into this book, but I was soon hooked and couldn't put it down.Published 3 months ago by Kitty L
Adeline's story is wonderfully written. Though terribly sad, the book reads almost like poetry, so rhythmic and emotive. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
For Western readers such as myself I feel that the main interest of this memoir lay in the details revealed of how life was for a fairly affluent Chinese family in the earlier... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Anne Kingston
A reprise of Falling Leaves, rehashing the same story. Nothing new or original. (Falling Leaves was fabulous.)Published 10 months ago by mouse
Gorgeous story. As a Chinese-Canadian it was a great way to learn of the changing history of my ancestors/family; however, I think it would be an enjoyable story for anyone and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rachel