Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Leftover Woman

The Leftover WomanThe Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Girl in Translation so much — I’ve had high hopes for Kwok’s most recent novel. This one was just OK. It just seemed so far-fetched at times. Too many coincidences, too many things happened, and too many side stories that didn’t contribute to the overall narrative. The story follows two women from different worlds: Jasmine and Rebecca. Jasmine came to the U.S. to find her daughter, who was, unbeknownst to her, forcibly adopted under China’s one-child policy. I would loved to have read more on Jasmine's experience. (How did she find where her daughter was? Did I miss that somewhere?) Rebecca, the adoptive mother, has a golden life for the most part, although she struggles to balance career, marriage, and motherhood. The chapters alternate between the two women’s stories, which, of course, ultimately intersect in a dramatic way. I had a lot of questions upon finishing the novel, a lot of whys and hows and huhs. Jasmine and Rebecca were well-developed characters, and I appreciate Kwok's exploration of their roles as Fiona's very different mothers.

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