Paper Daughter: A Memoir

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jul 25, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages

When she was five years old, M. Elaine Mar and her mother emigrated from Hong Kong to Denver to join her father in a community more Chinese than American, more hungry than hopeful.

While working with her family in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant and living in the basement of her aunt's house, Mar quickly masters English and begins to excel in school. But as her home and school life--Chinese tradition and American independence--become two increasingly disparate worlds, Mar tries desperately to navigate between them.

Adolescence and the awakening of her sexuality leave Elaine isolated and confused. She yearns for storebought clothes and falls for a red-haired boy who leads her away from the fretful eyes of her family. In his presence, Elaine is overcome by the strength of her desire--blocking out her family's visions of an arranged marriage in Hong Kong.

From surviving racist harassment in the schooIyard to trying to flip her straight hair like Farrah Fawcett, from hiding her parents' heritage to arriving alone at Harvard University, Mar's story is at once an unforgettable personal journey and an unflinching, brutal look at the realities of the American Dream.

What people are saying - Write a review

PAPER DAUGHTER: A Memoir

User Review  - Kirkus

A funny, sometimes brutally honest, account of one Chinese immigrant's path from the tenements of Hong Kong to the halls of Harvard. What Mar captures most vividly is the difficult position occupied ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - autumnesf - LibraryThing

This book is written by a woman that moved to the states from China when she was about 4/5 years old. It was a very easy and fast read. What you learn from this book is mostly how she was treated ... Read full review

About the author (2000)

M. Elaine Mar graduated from Harvard University in 1988. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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