Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation

Book - 2010
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Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

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Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2010.
ISBN: 9781594487569
Branch Call Number: F Kwok
Characteristics: 293 p. ; 24 cm.


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Jan 26, 2017

Great read! Hard to put down. What I didn't like was the premarital sex.

Aug 26, 2016

I love the story :) Must read book.

Sep 30, 2015

Loved this book. Beautiful and sadly poignant story of a Korean immigrant mother and daughter trying to make a life in the garment industry in NY. Kimberly, the daughter, is quite brilliant and must cope with American school in addition to working evenings at the factory. It's a life that I myself have never know, but the reality of child labor is true for some. I loved the character growth and development of Kimberly and admired her fortitude when coping with living conditions and life events that would cripple many.

Jan 19, 2015

What an important exploration of American culture through the eyes of an immigrant mother and daughter. Loved this book. Want to read more from this author.

Jun 16, 2014

An immigration story with a focus on the mother/daughter relationship of the main characters. Loosely based on the author's personal experience. It was a good storyline but the writing style was a little flat for me.

ChristchurchLib Jun 15, 2014

"Drawing on author Jean Kwok's own experience, this debut novel tells the story of Ah Kim, who emigrated with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, where she decides to go by Kimberly Chang at school. Their unheated apartment is condemned (and infested), and both must work at a sweatshop to pay back the aunt who financed their transport, but that doesn't stop Kimberly from excelling at school. Success there eventually takes her to Yale, but not without some hardships. Partially a coming-of-age story, this tale of an immigrant's experience offers "much to savor" (Booklist). Kwok's second novel, Mambo in Chinatown, will be published this month." Fiction A to Z June 2014 newsletter

Dec 04, 2013

A very well deserved 5 stars! This book was compared to 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' which was unequivocally my favorite novel growing up. I think this one would have definitely been a contender; something about the strength of the protagonist and the love of her and her mother makes this book so special. I'll likely read this again in the future.

JCLKinsleyR Oct 07, 2013

Coming of age story about the struggles of being an immigrant in a large city that can easily swallow you up.

Jul 18, 2013

Fabulous!! I loved this story. I can't wait for more from Jean Kwok.

Jul 10, 2013

Loved this book and devoured it over a day.

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Jul 08, 2016

blue_dog_24155 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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