Girl in Translation

Book: Girl in Translation

Author: Jean Kwok

Short Summary:
Kimberly Chang is an immigrant young girl who has come with her mother from Hong Kong to America. Living in poverty in the slums of Brooklyn, Kimberly has to work hard to keep up in school by learning better English and at the factory to help her mother raise money. Kimberly struggles to be a great student, daughter, and friend while growing up in a strange place and making decisions that will affect her future.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this one. I loved Kimberly as a narrator and thought she brought a fresh voice to the American immigrant. This book showed the difficulty that a girl like Kimberly must face while trying to fit in to the American culture while also staying true to her mother and her heritage. I found a lot of humor in the misunderstanding of the English language and phrases that Kim had to learn the true meaning of, yet they also showed the difficulty this bright girl faced.

This story also had a lot to say about America and what it means to live here. Kimberly and her mother went through endless suffering throughout the story, and although slightly contrived at times, the effort that Kimberly put in to everything did seem to pay off. It said a lot that Kimberly and her mother chose this country and living in squalor over their lives in Hong Kong for the possible opportunities that were offered.

This book would be a great for book clubs and discussion. I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading fiction about immigration from a first person perspective.

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars


One Response

  1. I also thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it a bit hard to believe that their relatives were so cruel. While I could see this behavior happening with Americans, I thought the Chinese and other cultures took better care of their own kin.

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