June 21, 2012

Girl in TranslationGirl in Translation by Jean Kwok

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was happy when this book was selected as the read for my next book group. Admittedly, most of that was due to the fact that I was removing a book from my ample “to be read” pile.

I was really surprised that this book ended up being non-fiction. It felt so very, very real to me and reminded me of the non-fiction books I’ve read in the past few years that dealt with abject, crushing, cycling poverty. So, kudos on the author for creating something that felt so very, very real.

I think there were only two things about this book that did NOT appeal to me. The first was the rather stereotypical idea that a Chinese person would be run away brilliant. Of course, it’s very possible that a brilliant child would be living in poverty, but it just felt a little bit like “of course she’s a mathematical genius”. I also didn’t like how she dealt with Matt in the end. I’m a hopeless romantic, though, so that could be it.

And, you know, this book was comforting to me.  I liked the people I was supposed to like.  I disliked the people I was supposed to dislike.  I didn’t find myself rooting for some secondary character.  There was no double crossing but by those I expected it out of.  Sometimes books can be complicated.  You can hate the protagonist.  You can find you were betrayed  by a character and storyline, so there’s a great comfort, sometimes, in reading something where it’s easy.  Where what you feel for the characters is what the author intended you to feel.

By the way, this is the 30th book I’ve read this year.  View all my reviews and see what I’ve loved at hated.  Also, let me know what you’re reading, and loving, this summer.  Or, what you’re reading and hating so I can avoid it.

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