Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter, by Adeline Yen Mah

     Falling Leaves is the story of a real-life Cinderella and her cruel stepmother. After falling-leaves1Adeline’s mother died, her father married a beautiful 17-year-old. Adeline and her older sister and brothers slept upstairs, receiving little attention, while her father and stepmother doted on the two children from their marriage. While the children from the first marriage ate dreadful rice gruel for breakfast, those from the second marriage feasted on varied, lavish breakfasts, with plenty of leftovers for their dog. Even Adeline’s relationships with her siblings were troubled; she later learned that her stepmother had discouraged friendships among them. Eventually, the family banished Adeline to boarding school, where she received no visits or letters from her family. While other parents brought delightful snacks for their children, Adeline’s cubbyhole, where snacks were supposed to be stored, was always empty. Other students received eggs from home, and the teachers marked each child’s number on her eggs. When the staff cooked the eggs, calling each child’s number so that she could come forward and get her breakfast, Adeline was always “eggless.”


     From this emotionally abusive beginning, Adeline eventually came to the United States, became a kind, caring adult and a successful professional, and made a happy marriage. You’ll want to read every word of her story!


(Helen Snow, Information Services)


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