This book came to me by way of a colleague suggesting it as a summer reading choice for our eleventh grade next school, and I’m excited to say we have chosen it! The narrative follows Kimberly, an immigrant child from Hong Kong who arrives in New York City with her mother and begins work at a sweatshop while also navigating her new public elementary school. We follow Kimberly as she matures, moves from public school to an exclusive private school, falls in love, and continues to straddle the worlds of American and Chinese cultures. I think it will tie in well with our themes of American identity and the American dream, as well as offer good prompts for personal essays, and I finished it in one night, unable to put it down, which is another good quality for a summer reading choice.
Anna Quindlen has a new novel? Of course I’m on board, as she has written some of my favorite contemporary fiction, including titles like Every Last One and Black and Blue. This novel has a more melancholy tone, as a family struggles with understanding the ties that bind them together, and how they might be further affected, and perhaps broken, by the loss of their hometown. The erosion that can happen in loving relationships and the bittersweet nostalgia of losing a place you miss but might no longer desire are only some of the threads winding through the narrative. There’s a somewhat surprising ending that I’m not sure felt truly earned or authentic to me, but I think if you liked her recent Still Life with Bread Crumbs, you might enjoy this one too.