Thursday, February 14, 2008

China Dolls-Michelle Yu & Blossom Kan

China Dolls
Michelle Yu & Blossom Kan
Dunne, Feb 2008, $2.95
ISBN: 9780312378011

Chinese Americans M.J., Alex and Lin are best friends and have been so since they met as children. Each encourages the others to seek their dreams. Thus M.J. is a sportswriter hoping to make TV broadcasting; Alex has become a successful lawyer; and Lin has succeeded as an investment banker.

Each of their parents is concerned with the Americanization of their offspring, as the only acceptable roles for an Asian female are wife and mother. However the three musketeers want more from their lives and plan to prove to their respective families that Asian women at least in the United States can be all they want to be.

The American assimilation that divides the third generation from especially the first (the second is caught in a tug of war) is aptly described in CHINA DOLLS. Readers will see the Grand Canyon in beliefs as the acceptable Chinese norm (brought from the old country) clashes with the desires of women to be all that you can be in a society that encourages much more flexibility. Although none of the three young professionals are fully developed, the clashing lifestyles make for an interesting tale as each ahs to decide between gratifying their family by staying inside the narrow cultural restraints or satisfying themselves by taking advantage of the wider opportunities America offers.

Harriet Klausner

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