From Publishers Weekly
Lum's heartfelt, harrowing memoir recreates the years her family emigrated to Singapore from China and endured the Japanese invasion of the British-controlled island during WWII. The narrator, born in 1933, is the second daughter of four siblings whose father is an official interpreter; his wages allow the extended family, including the formidable maternal grandmother, Popo, a cook and several indentured servants, to live comfortably and the children to attend English schools. Lum's young life is overshadowed by the tyranny of the harshly autocratic, superstitious grandmother and whimsical irascibility of the spoiled mother, both of whom beat the girls mercilessly for any infraction, while coddling the sons. With the invasion of General Yamashita's forces in 1942, the kindly, educated father works for the Japanese, though his true tormentors prove to be Popo and his scornful wife, who drive him to drink and an early death. In modestly elegant prose, Lum portrays the lean, hard years during which she must navigate the crushing adult forces around her and bear witness to horrible events: bloodshed and Japanese torture, her father's untimely death and the later, shameful abandonment of the children by their mother. Lum's work resonates with power and grace. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"[A] brilliant memoir...Essential for all large libraries, this will enrich multicultural and memoir collections of all sizes." -- Library Journal, starred review
a "clear-eyed memoir of growing up during the Japanese occupation of Singapore." -- More, June 2007
a "highly engrossing...[and] truly magnificent memoir. It contains equal parts death, delight, dread and hope...[A]n immense and touching book." -- Asian American Press, June 14, 2007