Summary: Growing up is hard enough. Growing up to meet the expectations placed on you by an overbearing mother is almost unbearable. Cara Chow’s Bitter Melon expresses this conflict beautifully with a main character who is both likeable and frustrating, just like any teen girl.
Frances has always worked hard to make her mother proud. She knows how hard her mother works to make sure she can attend a good private school and become a doctor some day. Then they can both lead a better life; the kind of life her mother gave up when she chose to raise her daughter alone in American instead of returning to her homeland of China. But no matter how hard she tries, she always seems to fall short.
At the beginning of her senior year, someone makes a mistake on Frances’ schedule, putting her in speech instead of calculus. Although she knows she should switch, she finds that she is good at public speaking and that it gives her a feeling she hasn’t had before; a confidence in herself. Although she still tried to make her mother proud, she also begins to work more toward her own happiness. But is Frances strong enough to choose her own path, even if it will mean standing up to her mother?
This coming-of-age story mixes in a dose of Asian culture to a universal tale of learning to be your own person.
13 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none