Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. The theme for this one is memoirs and realistic stories.
A BOOK I HAVE READ
“Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter” by Adeline Yen Mah
A riveting memoir of a girl’s painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s.
A Chinese proverb says, “Falling leaves return to their roots.” In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline’s affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for — the love and understanding of her family.
Following the success of the critically acclaimed adult bestseller Falling Leaves, this memoir is a moving telling of the classic Cinderella story, with Adeline Yen Mah providing her own courageous voice.
This is one of the first memoirs I’ve read in my life and I remember completely loving it. Though Adeline was not living in poverty and was financially better off than a lot of people in China at the time, the emotional toll she went through as a child for not being wanted by her family is heartbreaking.
A BOOK ON MY TBR
“Night” by Elie Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man.
Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
This is a painful book to read. I started it once in the beginning of high school and put it down because I couldn’t handle the starting scene. Reading about violence in fiction is not the same as reading someone’s memoir. But I plan on starting it again soon because these are important stories to read and learn from.
A BOOK RELEASING SOON
“Difficult Women” by Roxane Gay
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
I’ll admit, I just learned about this book when searching “upcoming releases” but I’m hooked. This sounds like it has a lot of potential with its unique perspectives and authentic stories.
What’s the best memoir you’ve read?