Friday, July 30, 2010

Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yeh Mah

Adeline Yeh Mah was the youngest of 5 children in an affluent Chinese family . Her mother died of complications from her birth in 1937. Soon afterwards her father re-married.

Adeline's stepmother or Niang was extemely domineering and high maintenance. Her natural children and particularly her son were first in her favour. Any of the children not bowing to her wishes were castigated. Adeline was sent to boarding school with instructions that the rest of the family were not to contact her.

Adeline spent her whole life trying to win approval from her father and suffering emotional abuse from her step-mother. Her grandfather Ye-Ye and her Aunt Baba were loving towards her and helped her greatly.

Adeline lived in China, emigrated to England to get a M.D. and finally settled in the US.

This story is somewhat of a Cinderella story and although the story is one that tugs at the heartstrings, the history of China in the 20th century is even more fascinating. I know little about the history of China and find myself wanting to know more.

First Line: "It would not be quite truthful to say that we were all together for the first time in nearly forty years."


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