What’s great about a story like this, is that it humanizes the people going through the trial of adapting to the US from China. The contrast of the class level and cultural backgrounds of some characters play great together. Kwok does such a great job describing everything around Kimberly Chang, the protagonist, that the reader figures out the intentions of the adults well before Kimberly does, if she ever does. I thought chopping up the English words that were spoken to her and she found confusing was a brilliant way to relay her developing English vocabulary at the same time as relay to the reader what was going on at times in the beginning. Direct translations of slang and insults with the adapted meaning behind them was a great addition. English is my mother’s second language and I always thought the differences in the way it was done to be funny, so it was great to find that included.
There’s so much to love here. Many parts of the book are stereotypical in that we expect to hear about when reading immigration stories. Every race and ethnicity that has migrated to the US has those things that are typical to their story. This is typical of the things we hear about Chinese immigrants, when we hear anything at all.
Grayce Wey is an amazing narrator. Her pronunciations were great. I loved the way the accent started out very thick and softened throughout the story, and that it never completely went away. I also adored the way her reading of the chopped up English played into the story, it was well done.
I found the end to be fitting, but bittersweet.