November 23, 2012

Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Author: Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 290
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Published: April 29, 2010
Source: Chapters


The reason I bought this was because it was on the sale table for like, 6 dollars. But also because I thought maybe I could relate to her in a way, or at least maybe connect her life to what my parents went through coming to Canada. I didn't make any connections really, because Kim and her mom went through much tougher times and I found only a few ways to relate to her.

I think it was because I couldn't really relate to her that I found the book hard to get through at first. I was at about page 40 and I was seriously bored out of my mind. I even picked to do my homework over reading this book! But afterwards, I persevered and ended up liking the book!

It starts out with Kimberly Chang just arriving in America and expecting a glamorous life living next to the Times Square. Instead, she ends up living in a run down apartment in the ghetto. And because her aunt was the one who helped them to get to America, they have to repay her debt. In this way, I knew how she felt even though her aunt was pretty much a wicked witch. For me, I feel that when someone does something for me, I have to return their favour.

Kim was a character I admired because she was flawed in so many ways. Like I said, she lived in the ghetto, and all her clothes are badly sewn by her mom, she could hardly speak English when she first arrived. (When she asked for an eraser, she instead asked for a "rubber", and I'm assuming they thought she was asking for a condom) But I also admired her determination to help her mother and also herself live the life they had dreamed when coming to America.

Something I had a problem with was, during the beginning, a lot of words were written as how she would have heard them knowing so less English, so it made the sentence really confusing. But as Kim learned more English and began to understand it better, it stopped. That was probably another reason as to why I had trouble getting through it at first.

The romance in here wasn't instant, but I feel as if I didn't get to see it develop at all. And when she started making out with a bunch of guys, I was just completely baffled. She was this girl that was super hardcore about school and achieving the best grades and here she is, making out with people she barely knows. It was an action that just didn't seem to fit with her character.

Overall, I think this would be a good book for someone who wouldn't mind having a book start out slow. Through the book, I really saw everything that I take for granted-- such as heat and hot water. By the end of the book, I felt very touched by all that Kim went through, and also how it all played out.

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