Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter


“Chinese Cinderella,” by Adeline Yen Mah, starts with our protagonist Adeline or “Wu Mei” (fifth sister) who faces the abuse of her family. After her birth, her family considers her bad luck. When the girl’s father remarries to another woman, Adeline yearns for love and to be included in her affluent family. In the book, you would follow Adeline’s perspective and views of the world. Themes throughout the book include coming of age, abuse, family, and isolation. 

What I like about this book is the main character’s courage and determination whenever she’s in a terrible situation, as she finds ways to deal with and look on parts of the brighter side rather than grieving the harsh events that she’s experienced. Like Adeline said,  “In one way or another, every one of us has been shaped by the stories we have read and absorbed in the past.” 

Overall, I would give the book 10/10 because not only is the book easy to follow and understand, Adeline conveys her story to her reader. Many times, I felt emotional, from parts like the death of her pet (Xiao Bao Bei), or when she is sent back to Tianjin abandoned by others. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading stories about overcoming their past and finding strength in oneself to overcome challenges.