Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella: The Secret Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
First published by Delacorte Press in September 1999. The book is part of Yen Mah's biography Falling Leaves, republished in abridged form for a younger audience.

One of my WorldReads from China

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

How I got this book:
Bought from a charity shop

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'A riveting memoir of a girl's painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s.
A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for -- the love and understanding of her family.'

I read Chinese Cinderella in September 2013 and this is another of my recently rediscovered and unblogged mini book reviews. I remember that I left the book on a Hailsham park bench for Bookcrossing. I wonder where it has got to now?

Chinese Cinderella is an interesting glimpse into the life of a Chinese girl from a wealthy family living in Tianjin and Shanghai in the 1940s. The book is a Puffin and intended for a younger audience so does not go into great depth about the political and social situation in China at the time although there is an overview at the end. It is more concerned with scenes from Adeline's early life with which older children could identify. The book was very quick to read and has encouraged me to look out for the 'adult' version of Adeline's autobiography, Falling Leaves.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Adeline Yen Mah / Biography and memoir / Books from China


  1. Like you I enjoyed reading this book so much that I went on to read Fallen Leaves.

    1. These books were such an amazing insight into a very different culture