No. of pages: 274
Synopsis: Adeline Yen Mah's childhood in China during the civil war was a time of fear, isolation and humiliation. The cause of this was not political upheaval but systematic emotional and physical abuse by her step-mother and siblings, and rejection by her father. Falling Leaves is the story of a 'Fifth Younger Daughter' and her determination to survive the pain of a lonely childhood.
Review: Adeline is the fifth child born into a rich chinese family, but when her mother dies a few days after her birth, she's considered bad luck. When her father remarries things go from bad to horrendous for Adeline. Her step-mother relishes in driving wedges between the siblings and telling Adeline that she is worth nothing. This is Adeline's story of how she tries to please her family, even though she's abused everyday, and how she overcomes her past to make a new life for herself.
This is such a sad book, you can feel Adeline's yearning for love and acceptance the whole way through, even though her family treat her so poorly. You almost cannot believe that her step-mother could be so cruel to a child, as the tales she recounts are terrible. The fact her father just sat there and let it all happen is even worse. But as much as you end up feeling sorry for Adeline, you can't help but admire her for overcoming it all and becoming successful in her own right. I enjoyed reading about China through young Adeline's eyes, and what it was like during the many years of upheaval and war. It's a really easy book to read, and I loved the chinese proverbs peppered throughout the story.