Chinese Cinderella Adeline Yen Mah Puffin Modern Classics ISBN 0385740077 Chinese Cinderella is an adaptation of Adeline Yen Mah's 1997 autobiographical bestseller, Falling Leaves, which was written with young readers in mind. You can either appreciate the extra effort made to bring her story to youngsters or wish she'd stop the self-pity. After all, she's already written a book about her childhood. Chinese Cinderella begins with background information on Yen Mah's family - she was the fifth child (only girl), and unfortunately, her mother died two weeks after giving birth. According to Chinese superstitions at the time, she was considered by other family members to be 'bad luck' and a 'burden'. Yen Mah recounts numerous tales of woe and, occasionally, joy. I admit that it can break your heart to see her abused and bullied by her cruel stepmother, Niang - but at the same time, you wonder if her memories have been manipulated over the years. Her stories seem melodramatic at times. For example, she had a pet duckling called PLT - Precious Little Treasure - which she loved. But her father chose it as a plaything for one of their new dogs - and Yen Mah had to watch as it was savaged, and bled to death. These stories always seem abrupt and spontaneous - it is as if the whole world has been against Yen Mah from birth. Despite the traumatic experiences, she finds comfort in books. She manages to succeed academically - always coming top of the class. Using her success in a writing competition as a bargaining chip, she persuaded her stubborn father to send her to a British university and later became a doctor. The message that Yen Mah would like readers to take away from Chinese Cinderella is that hard work pays off. Yen Mah, who has written six other books, including three novels for children, now lives with her husband, Robert, and has two children. It seems that happy endings are possible.