Girl in Translation
By Jean Kwok
Riverhead Books, 2010. 290 pgs. Fiction
Kimberly Chang and her mother have come from Hong Kong to America in hopes of finding a better life. They know very little English and are soon greeted by the harsh realities of no money, a roach infested apartment with no heat, and exhausting work in a sweatshop. Kimberly has always been good at school and determines that somehow she will overcome the language barrier and succeed in school so that she can help them escape their horrible living conditions.
Kim's struggle to make sense of a world that is so different from her own and to have the determination to escape is amazing. Although this is a work of fiction, the author immigrated from Hong Kong when she was a child and worked in a sweatshop which I feel added a lot of reality to the situations in the novel. The description of what life is like for many immigrants to America is heartbreaking and I have thought about it long after I finished this book.