Plot without spoilers…Frances is supposed to ride the back of her Chinese immigrant mother’s sacrifices to great SAT scores and a pre-med degree from Berkeley. Instead, an administrative mix-up lands her in a speech and debate class where she discovers a voice of her own—and a dream she never knew she had.
Of literary interest…Cara Chow does wonderful things playing with English-Chinese translations and using them as metaphors for the clash of two cultures in Frances, or Fei Ting’s life. I also really like the speeches the author writes for Frances—especially the last one because it says so much about her character’s struggle to understand both her mother’s love and her mother’s abuse. (Oh, read the book and you’ll get what I mean.)
Finally, just gotta say…I really connected with the way Frances is simultaneously portrayed as sheltered and socially naïve, but also searching for independence and questioning her world. A fascinating teen character. Bitter Melon would be interesting to read alongside Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, a non-fiction book that recently caused quite a stir.
What are the other Bookanistas sampling this week?
Elana Johnson sings praises for SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD
Shannon Messenger is wild about WILDFIRE + an ARC giveaway
Carolina Valdez Miller adores A NORTHERN LIGHT
LiLa Roecker dotes on DIVERGENT
Megan Miranda thinks MOONGLASS is marvelous
Jessi Kirby praises POSSESSION
Carrie Harris reveals the BAD TASTE IN BOYS Book Trailer
Sarah Frances Hardy delves into DIVERGENT
Christine Fonseca relishes in the RED GLOVE