Join us for West Branch's monthly non-fiction book discussion group. We read a variety of contemporary non-fiction and meet once a month for a lively discussion. Contact discussion leader Janet Stephens at 630-264-3626 for a copy of the book or the list of current chosen titles.
Join us virtually through Zoom or in-person. Contact discussion facilitator Janet Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to receive a Zoom link to join us virtually.
This first book from Wang takes readers deep into her childhood experience of undocumented life in the U.S. At age seven, she and her mother join her father in New York City in 1994, seeing him for the first time since he left northern China two years prior. Instantly she understands Ba Ba’s directive to tell anyone who asks that she was born in Mei Guo, the Mandarin name for the U.S., meaning beautiful country. In contrast to the warm, family-surrounded life she led in China, Wang’s new existence in Brooklyn is startling in every way, governed by unrelenting hunger; the upsetting work her parents, who’d both been professors back in China, are forced to do; the alienation she feels at school when she at first only speaks Mandarin and relies on free meals for survival; and the constant threat of deportation. Now a lawyer, Wang buried herself in books for escape. Powerfully reconstructing, without embellishment, her memories of this shadow existence, Wang reveals truths about living in constant fear and trauma that will undoubtedly move readers.