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Chinese Cinderella Book Review by Adeline Yen Mah

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With no love or support Adeline has herself to rely on. From being bashed and deceived Adeline feels insecure and lonely. We see her at the height of her heartache when she was forced to eat Christmas dinner by herself. Even though Adeline feels unwanted and alone Adeline develops a strong sense of resilience. This resilience is shown by Adeline when her little golden duckling PLT was murdered by the family’s aggressive dog, Jaquie. Though Adeline is agitated she has the audacity to bounce back. At PLT’s funeral Adeline makes a pact to herself to never let them win. This is when Adeline’s strength and courage increases. This is also when Adeline is 100% sure that her family will never be there to support or care for her. She also knows that her family will continually ignore her and physically bully her. The idea of not letting them win symbolises Adeline’s determination to ignore the behavior of her horrid family and to care and be truthful to herself. To find the right people to be with and to find her own way in life.


Adeline being the third youngest and a female did not give her many opportunities nor respect. We see Adeline at her breaking point when her Father had forgotten her name and date of birth on the way to her boarding school in Tianjin.Eventhough her relationships with her family are not fulfilling know one involved in Adeline’s life can force her and her family to accept and cherish each other. Even though Adeline felt heart broken and disappointment through her Father Adeline felt a sign of relief when being dropped at her boarding school in Tianjin that she didn’t have to be around her disrespectful family. Adeline eventually knows she is an ‘unwanted daughter’. The idea of Adeline knowing that she is ‘unwanted’ symbolises her struggle and loneliness and not being able to find people who she can trust and be around without being ignored and subordinated.

In the novel Adeline’s education is what helps her overcome the hard ship face at home, and to also showcase her academic skills. We see Adeline at her very best when she won the national play write competition. This infact was the very first time where Adeline’s Father said four words that she had waited for her whole life to hear “ I’m proud of you”. This was also the very first time where her Father noticed her and thought her work was more than impressive it was outstanding and her Father saw her potential. The idea of Adeline’s Father saying “I’m proud of you” for the first time symbolises the effort the Adeline goes to just receive love,equiloty and peace in her child hood.




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