An incredible debut novel from Jenny Zhang. This book is a collection of stories from Chinese immigrants in Queens, New York. This is not for the faint of heart. In our political climate today, there is a bit of arrogance that goes along with the immigration experience. People assume all immigrants (both legal and illegal) show up and begin using welfare the second they arrive. The people in this book are too proud to live on handouts. They live in complete squalor. Five families sleep in a room together in an apartment run by a slumlord. The building should be torn down, but these families live together, sleeping in one room, just trying to make it. They are literally working 18+ hours a day, going to school, taking ESL classes, and starving just to make it in America. They live in extreme poverty in the most inhumane conditions. Reading these stories, you have to ask why this dream was better than their previous life. Each story tells of parents that chose to live in extreme poverty and take a chance that they could make it in America, rather than go back to China. They had a better chance of surviving in America…and that says something. This book is a must read to understand immigration in America in a totally different light.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.]