Friday, 19 February 2016

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran

This non-fiction book is about Chinese women and their lost daughters, whether as a result of the one child policy, destructive age-old traditions, or hideous economic necessity. Women had to give up their daughters for adoption, others were forced to abandon them on city streets, outside hospitals, orphanages or station platforms.  Some also had to watch their baby daughters drowned at birth. A bucket was provided at birth by midwife to drown the baby if it was a girl and other arrangements were not made.

During the Cultural Revolution Xinran's parents were thrown in jail for years, thus her and her two year old brother were orphans. Xinran was taken from her mother and given to her Grandmother to bring up.  She went back to her parents at seven years of age. Xinran however makes the book full of hope (as well as sorrow) telling Chinese girls who have been adopted - whether in China or overseas, how things were for their mothers and tells them how they were loved and never will be forgotten.  Up to 1999 the suicide rate for women was 25% higher than for males in the child-bearing age range.

The author's charity The Mother Bridge of Love was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children, and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and China.  She was a radio presenter in China before going to London to live in 1997.  Ten chapters; ten women, and many stories of heartbreak.

Rae, Young@Heart Book Club

Catalogue link: Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother

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