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It was a book that, in ways, asked for pity points. It was a retell of her life and childhood, how she was picked on by her siblings and her stepmother was a witch. Within this novel is a retell of the protagonist's family and her own heritage. Some parts were well written. Parts that described her father and her siblings treatment towards her was well written. However, besides that, i did feel as if the book lacked a lot of substance. I wouldn't recommend it. Nov 03, Rachel Blanchard rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Any girl who's ever felt marginalized because whe wasn't born a boy.

Ever wonder what it would be like to grow up as the unwanted daughter? In Chinese culture, where people are ranked by sex, social status, and order of birth, the main character finds herself on the bottom of every measuring stick.

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Learn how she overcomes feelings of worthlessness, abandonment, and rejection to triumph over a culture that tries to kill her spirit simply because she was born a girl, the unwanted daughter of her father's least favorite wife. Apr 11, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. I probably would not have read this book if a friend hadn't given it to me before moving away to California. Thinking that it was a new book, I was surprised that it was published in , already more than 20 years ago. It's her story of overcoming loneliness and despair resulting from a traumatic childhood.

The backdrop of her youth is one of turmoil and revolutionary change I probably would not have read this book if a friend hadn't given it to me before moving away to California. The backdrop of her youth is one of turmoil and revolutionary changes, as China went through Japanese invasion followed by civil war and the takeover by the Communists under Mao in All that was of interest to me but what I really found riveting was this girl's desperate struggle and her final success in finding love and acceptance. As the youngest daughter in her family and, also, because of her mother's death after her birth--and then her father's marriage to another woman, she became the unwanted daughter of the title.

Her stepmother was cruel to her and indeed was manipulative of everyone around her.

Where do fallen leaves go?

It wasn't just the stepmother, but all her older siblings who mistreated her while the father did almost nothing to help or protect her. If it wasn't for her aunt, I don't know what would have happened to her as her aunt showed her affection and gave her the encouragement she needed. Adeline must have been a brilliant girl because she was most successful at school. Finally, she would get the chance to go to England to study medicine A most remarkable autobiography, heartrending at times, certainly unforgettable.

Oct 01, Nicole rated it did not like it. Jun 29, Teresa rated it really liked it Shelves: memoir. I read this book in 3 days. I really admire the author's candor and honesty.


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Her life story is heartbreaking at times and the history of Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong were brought to life to me through her story. Despite the cruelty she experienced, Adeline was always looking for acceptance and the best in other people. For that alone, she is to be admired and yet others would admire her ability to have survived and succeeded in life academically and ultimately financially with so many obstacl I read this book in 3 days.

For that alone, she is to be admired and yet others would admire her ability to have survived and succeeded in life academically and ultimately financially with so many obstacles to prevent her from doing so in her life.

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I will remember her story for a long time. Jul 01, Ruth Bertram rated it it was amazing. I cried, I laughed like twice and I relived the injustices of being a small child albeit on a much smaller scale than the author. Must read for anyone and everyone. May 15, Jim rated it liked it Shelves: asia , biography-memoir , nonfiction. This book is by no means a feel-good memoir in almost any sense, as the dominating characterthe author's stepmotheris on a par with any evil character conjured in fables or by Disney.


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  • Few of the supporting cast are of much redeeming value as well, from the successful but weak father who lets his new wife control and destroy his family, to the siblings who scheme, plot, and connive. One aunt is a shining light of strong will and determination and kindness. The children each react to oppress This book is by no means a feel-good memoir in almost any sense, as the dominating characterthe author's stepmotheris on a par with any evil character conjured in fables or by Disney. The children each react to oppression in different manners, but I was amazed by how they were able to be manipulated even when they saw what was happening.

    The Falling Leaves

    Although one must always take memoirs with a large dose of skepticism, Mah's recollections will put a chill into any reader. But she was sent to college and received a good education as were most of her siblings , with much of the credit because of her own strong will though many times I was bothered by her inability to just tell her parents were they could go when she got older.

    The dad, as terrible as he could be, did seem to have a measure of love for his kids, even if he couldn't show it and bent to the will of his iron-willed evil but beautiful wife. I cannot believe that this family would be a template for most Chinese families, even older and wealthy ones.

    Of course, these type of machinations can happen anywhere, but this account is often heartrending. I wanted to smack some heads, and say, "you don't treat your family this way. One of the best lines in the book, though, occurs when one of the sons, in school in Britain, decides he wants to become a professional bridge player and sends a note asking for permission, and his father sends back a telegrams stating only: "Why not become a pimp instead? It is horrible and unnerving, and sad, that readers of these types of books have been so repeatedly duped.

    I hope not in this case, and all future ones.

    Fallen Leaves on the River, Riverfront Cabin-Incredible Views

    Jan 28, Stephen Gallup rated it liked it. I like the way the story is structured, with the bereaved family gathering in the lawyer's office to hear the reading of their father's will, followed by all the years of earlier events leading up to that moment, a second pass at describing it with more understanding, and then a few more years in which the family essentially winds down.

    go site I marvel at the utterly evil parents portrayed here and their unspeakably callous treatment of innocent children, as well as the cruel manipulation that continues after everyone is grown. I'd thought Sean Wilsey's family was awful in Oh the Glory of it All , but apparently I just did not know how bad families can be.

    Fallen Leaves PMV - Today Has Been Okay

    What I do not like about this one recalls the complaint several of my fellow ms critics at authonomy. They're biased against it because they say there's too much tiresome summary: this happened, and then this happened, and so on. Naturally, when writing memoir, by definition one does have to deal with the sequence of events. The trick -- and what Adeline Yeh Mah does not do with sufficient success -- is to transform those events by interpreting them through the impressions, emotions, and thoughts both of the younger self living them and the older self now reflecting on them.

    She does finally start giving shape to her motivations near the end, and says quite explicitly that, unlike the younger half-sister who broke away from their parents' control she always yearned for and did everything possible to win acceptance.

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    However, most of the time she's holding back too much to get below the surface. That's a pity. I think she could have produced something far more devastating with just a little more guidance and feedback. Sep 07, Jai rated it really liked it. I started with Chinese Cinderella and fell in love with Adeline and her resilience. Falling Leaves is the adult version of the novel, and gives you an in depth explanation of everything.

    The novel is beautiful, heartbreaking, and engulfs you as if you are just a painting on the w I started with Chinese Cinderella and fell in love with Adeline and her resilience. The novel is beautiful, heartbreaking, and engulfs you as if you are just a painting on the wall bearing witness.

    Despite the fact that the Mahs were just as dysfunctional as any other family, you really get a sense of the family traditions and religious practices that fold and encompass their personal values. It reminds me of the Mackenzie Phillips discussion about her own unspeakable horrors at the hands of her own father. Love your enemies. She went through many realms of Hell with them, even after death, but came out a better person from it all. What more can one ask for from himself?

    Jan 27, Terry rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , memoir. Everyone is so abusive that you wonder why she keeps going back for more, but, then, isn't that always the way? It's easier to see when you're outside of the situation.