Chinese Cinderella By Adeline Yen Mah A non-fiction autobiographic/memoir of Adeline Yen Mah’s childhood in China.
Author Adeline Yen Mah Adeline Yen Mah was born in Tianjin, China in 1937. She moved to London, England where she eventually attended London Hospital Medical School. She graduated as a physician specializing in anesthesiology. She aspired to be a writer and at age 14 she won a playwriting competition which helped to persuade her father to send her on to school.
Eventually she moved to California and practiced as an anesthesiologist at West Anaheim Community Hospital in Anaheim, California. She soon became Chief of Anesthesia. She wrote her first book Falling Leaves which tells the story of her life from 14 to adulthood. It was published in 1999 and hit the New York Times best seller list. While there she met and married her husband Robert Mah. Together they have 2 children.
After the publication and success of Falling Leaves, which sold over one million copies world-wide, Adeline gave up medicine to write full-time. She went on to write … Chinese Cinderella Chinese Cinderella her autobiography written for children. Watching the Tree Watching the Tree her a book of Chinese philosophy.
Genre Autobiography True story of the author’s life Written by the author Tells facts from her life as she remembers them Highlights her triumph over the abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepmother.
Point of View First Person “He said” “She said” “I said” The “I” in the story is Adeline herself. She is personally telling us her story – they are her words and her feelings! I was born in 1937 in Tianjin ….
Setting China It begins in Autumn 1941 when Adeline is 4 years old and …. ends in September 1952 when Adeline is 14 years old. The story spans 11 years in Adeline’s life ….. Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong
Plot After Adeline’s mother dies giving birth to her, Adeline’s affluent family considers her bad luck. Her life does not get any easier when her father remarries and her new stepmother has little affection for the father’s first five children. She and her siblings are subjected to their stepmother’s dislike, while her half brother and half sister are thoroughly spoiled. Throughout the book, Adeline struggles for her family’s affection and to find the place where she belongs.
Characters Father A mysterious character who tends to seem very cruel and uncaring. Ye Niang Nai Aunt Baba Stepmother who married Father 1 year after Adeline’s mother’s death. Cruel and mean – divides family into 2 classes. Eurasian (half French, half Chinese) 1 st wife Grandfather who is one of Adeline’s biggest supporters. Adeline’s mother who died 2 weeks after giving birth to her. Adeline’s aunt, Father’s sister, Adeline’s mother’s best friend – worked in bank together. A comfort and support for Adeline. Roommate of Adeline – left to care for her, but unable to affect what happens in her life. Grandmother who is the authority in the house until ….she passes away.
Big Sister Lydia main character – narrator who is struggling to triumph over her family’s abuse Father 1 st WifeNiang Big Brother Gregory Second Brother Edgar Third Brother James Adeline Fourth Younger Brother Franklin Little Sister Susan “brown noser” who attempts to secure what she wants by manipulating – very mean to Adeline very mischievous and loved to play tricks on Adeline bullied and beat up Adeline Adeline’s favorite sibling who she considers a friend until he betrays her The favorite son – very spoiled given the Western clothes. Mean and cruel A bit forgotten until she is older and then becomes favorite daughter