Chinese Cinderella

May 29, 2009
By Rael Ogega BRONZE, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Rael Ogega BRONZE, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Chinese Cinderella is an autobiography book written by Mah, Adeline Yen also known as Yen Jun-lin. It was published in 1999 by Delacorte Press. The book centers on the young Adeline growing up and her challenges within her family.
In the book after Yen Jun-ling’s mother dies giving birth to her, her family begins to blame her mother’s death on her and she becomes subject to their hatred. They’re pretty much cruel to her throughout the book and even make her drink pee at one point (the stepbrothers only of course). Soon after her mother’s death her farther remarries a half French half Chinese woman called Niang. Niang tries to act like a French woman during the whole book. Though Niang treats her own two children as is they were gods her five stepchildren are treated with much disdain. You can hardly even tell they’re her children. Yen Jun-lin’s mother was the only one who could really keep Niang in check. When Yen’s grandmother dies her stepmother soon has control of the whole house. Jun-lin and her family soon move to Shanghai deep in the French Concession to start a new life. While her father, Niang, and her two children live on the second floor and live luxurious lives the five stepchildren are expected to stay on the third floor, leave through the back door, and never invite any of their friends over. They aren’t even allowed to eat the same food them. When the five stepchildren decide to fight for their rights against their stepmother Niang, bribes the oldest sister to move to the second floor, therefore being allowed all the privileges of her real children and disbanding the five stepchildren. Her sister is then always trying to please Niang. Jun-lin is given a baby duckling which she names PLT. PLT becomes Jun- lin’s best friend but is killed by their guard dog in a training session. Though Adeline is smart, always wins prizes, and even became class president her family still considers her as bad luck. She’s treated the worst out of all her siblings since even her siblings mistreat her a lot. Adeline’s world comes crashing down when her Aunt Baba the most important person in the world to her is taken away from her and Adeline is made to move to a boarding school in Tianjin because her aunt is thought to be a bad influence on her. The different cities and schools are hard to keep track of sometimes. There begins the worst of Adeline’s problems because Tianjin has been dominated by the Communists. While fleeing Tianjin herself, Adeline’s Aunt Reine takes Adeline away with her thinking her sister had just forgotten about Adeline. She is taken to live in her family’s new home in Hong Kong where she is yet again sent to another boarding school. Even though Yen Jun-lin is laughed at by some of her peers, she still tries her hardest to be the best until she slowly but surely prevails in the end.
Chinese Cinderella was a very moving and sad story. I think many people might be able to relate to the book in the way that Adeline is excluded from her family throughout the book. Like she writes in the beginning of her book, Adeline leaves you with a strong understanding of the Chinese culture and a small understanding of the language. At first the characters are all mixed up, but as you get into the story you get a strong understanding of each character’s personality and see from their point of view. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Chinese Cinderella left me feeling like I could conquer just about anything that comes my way in life. The fact that it was an autobiography and actually did happen made me think about my own life and what if I had gotten Adeline’s instead.

The author's comments:
I had to do it because of a book review in English class.

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