"Girl in Translation" is a novel by Jean Kwok. It is a coming of age story about a girl who moves from Hong Kong to New York at the age of 11. What she and her mom dreamed was a chance for a better life following her father's untimely death, turned out to be a plan by an oppressive and greedy relative to find cheap labor for her factory.
As the mother worked long hours in sweat shop conditions, Kimberly attended school and found her niche in which to succeed. After school, she joined her mother at the factory, and then they returned to a run down apartment without heat or furniture.
Though it seemed a dismal life, secretly these strong protagonists made plans to rise above the prejudices and family jealousies. Kimberly earned a scholarship to a prestigious private school and developed a special relationship with one of the young men in the factory.
In the end, goodness prevailed, hard work paid off, and the world seemed a much brighter place. The story was interesting and well written. The struggles and perserverence presented here are character traits worth striving for in any situation, but it seems especially important to consider how difficult it can be moving into a new culture and language and still finding a way to succeed.
Whenever I read a story such as "Girl in Translation", I am moved by the courage in the face of overwhelming difficulties, and I'm left wondering if I could find it in myself to ever be so brave.