I thought that reading autobiographies would feel sneaky, like peeking into someone’s bedroom but it didn’t feel that way at all. The feel of Mah’s book seemed liked a simple recounting of things that had happened to her. Though the events were quite tragic, I wasn’t necessarily left with despair after all the pathos but the message of hope she delivered was more pronounced. It isn’t just a long sob story about someone’s miserable life; it is a long sob story about someone’s miserable life with profound messages of hope interspersed within.
The story is autobiographical and it tracks her life up to the age of fourteen. Her mother dies directly after giving birth to her and by her family and step mother she is regarded as an unwanted, bad luck child. Her status deteriorated throughout the book as she loses those who lit up her life but by the end, mixed with tragedy is her ultimate triumph.
This book is sad; the things that happened to her were atrocious. If you know about the story of Cinderella then think along those lines of atrocious but times about eight. She wrote the book many years into her adulthood but the vivid descriptions of things like conversations, the streets she lived on, and other seemingly mundane things are stunning. Even the descriptions of her mistreatment are shockingly descriptive.
Some parts have a slightly choppy nature to them because the book is written from recall and the overall tone is not really self-pitying I thought because she was capable enough to rise above all the challenges of her childhood.
The book is wildly inspirational, besides the evil stepmother there were people who had Adeline’s back and the lessons they taught her were valuable to anyone whether in similar situations to hers or not. Adeline Yen Mah has a real way with words and the book is short and light enough to read quickly. I quite liked it, and chances are you will, too.