Published September 21, 2009
Summary on Goodreads
One of the shorter books I’ve picked up recently. I remember when this book came out when I was in high school and I remember how one of my friends was walking everywhere with this book. I had asked her what she thought and she liked it and ever since then, I’d been meaning to read it. Unfortunately at that time, I was too busy with my old book blog where I was constantly receiving 20-30 books a month from various publishers and had a lot of book tour commitments that I couldn’t pick up books outside of the YA genre that I was so heavily involved in. Thankfully, because of the Read Harder Challenge, I finally made time to pick this one up.I liked this book. I was a little wary of it not because it didn’t seem interesting but because I don’t usually particularly enjoy books like this one. To be honest, I was most hesitant because for some reason, I thought this one was an autobiography or a memoir of some sort. I didn’t realize that this was completely fictional. However, it did have these memoir-esque tones to it. That was how I described it to my other friends when I told them I was reading this book: it’s like a fictional memoir. Because even though it’s fiction, it could easily be someone’s actual memoir.
The layout of the book was a little confusing. It took me a few chapters/POVs before I realized that every chapter was someone else’s perspective. It was either one of the children of the four mothers or the mothers themselves. So at first, I was a little confused because I didn’t understand why the impression and the writing style of the second chapter was a lot different than the first. Not to mention, the history of each chapter ranged widely.The most interesting thing to me was the stories of the mothers. The daughters’ stories didn’t really show me anything different than what I already am aware of. I’m Asian as well and my parents immigrated here when they were in their early 20s. So I definitely know what it was like to grow up here but look Asian. As for the mothers though, I found their history fascinating. It was especially interesting to read about their own childhoods in China and how each of their experiences changed the way how they perceived life later on. It was also fascinating to read about the differences in how Americans think and how Chinese people think. The ending was also especially moving because I was glad to see that June, or Jing-mei, was finally able to link her American upbringing and her Chinese heritage.Overall, I did like the book but I can’t simply give it more than a 3* because I didn’t really like it nor did I love it. It was a good read but that was it. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in learning more about the Chinese culture and how to connect with other ABCs (American-Born Chinese).