My Mother, My Grandmother, and Me
By Alice Pung
Plume Books, Paperback, 9780452290006, 282pp.
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
After Alice Pung's family fled to Australia from the killing fields of Cambodia, her father chose Alice as her name because he thought their new country was a Wonderland. In this lyrical, bittersweet debut memoir--already an award-winning bestseller when it was published in Australia--Alice grows up straddling two worlds, East and West, her insular family and the Australia outside. With wisdom beyond her years and a keen eye for comedy in everyday life, she writes of the trials of assimilation and cultural misunderstanding, and of the tender but fraught relationships between three generations of women trying to live the Australian dream without losing themselves.
Unpolished Gem is a moving, vivid journey about identity and the ultimate search for acceptance and healing, delivered by a writer possessed of rare empathy, penetrating insight, and undeniable narrative gifts.
“This is a sophisticated and fiercely intelligent book… There’s something striking on every page."
—Helen Garner, author of Postcards from Surfers
“Alice Pung is a gem. Her voice is the real thing.”
—Amy Tan, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club
“Revelations about her painful adolescence and bouts with depression are brutally honest and recounted with superlative narrative skills.”
A fascinating book about the place that is known only by the second-generation immigrant—the place between. Alice Pung tells her story with a keen intelligence, an observant precision, and a transformative grace.”
—Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“Poignant, provocative, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, Pung’s rollicking tale of two worlds is not to be missed.”
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)