Title: Bitter Melon
Author: Cara Chow
Pages: 224 (hardcover)
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school. But is being a doctor what she wants? It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her? Set in the 1980s.Inspiring and touching, Bitter Melon is an emotional story of trying to fight through battles and the real meaning of happiness. The concept of imperious Asian mothers was a bit cliché, but Chow did have the creativity to add in much more meaning to it.
Chow’s writing is so addictive and she absorbs you into Frances’ world. Her writing is so powerful that it there’s sympathy for Frances’ feelings and emotions. There’s so much emotion in the story, especially when Frances’ mother went mentally abusive.
Frances’ mother, is no doubt, a crazy and despicable woman. She always pushed Frances over the limit and expected so much from her. She wanted Frances to be perfect; get in an top school, become a doctor, and take care of her. Although, that’s what Frances’s mother wants, it’s not what she wants. This all changes when her teacher inspires her to follow and pursue her dreams, and not her moms. Frances was headstrong, just like her mom, patient, and modest. She wanted to get out of her mothers hold and get the life she wanted. Being an obedient daughter, it wasn’t easy because to progress, she needed to flout her mother.
The brawl to please and impress parents is a highly occurred issue in reality today. Being perfect is theoretically impossible and so is being happy if you don’t like what you’re doing. Bitter Melon bitterly touches on this issue and even though it’s under the radar, it merits much more attention.
Raw and harsh, Bitter Melon is an exceptional find in the young adult genre with teen suffering.