Lucky Girl (Anglais) Broché – 15 juin 2010
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The twist though is that the family is much larger than one might first think. She is one of the many girls adopted from Taiwan, and brought to America by a couple who wanted a baby. In fact, this couple also adopted two boys, also from Asia to complete their little circle.
Mei-Ling is different from many of the girls who were adopted in that she had a link to connect her with her birth family, if she chose to do so. She learned of Sister Maureen early on, when she was told the story of how she came to be adopted . When in her twenties, the nun who was almost a storybook like figure to her once again got in touch with the family to let them know that her birth family was interested in meeting, if she would like to do that.
What followed was the story of two families coming together, and bonding. Sometimes it was painful, other times loving, and there were times it was hilarious. There were brothers and sisters and a gentle birth mother. Her birth father was something of a conundrum.
This is a wonderful book, about good people, families and love. I recommend it.
Mei-Ling Hopgood does an excellent job reconstructing and telling the stories of both of her families. There is tremendous character development as she answers some mysteries, uncovers new ones and eventually finds the answers to those, too.
This book is in a class with The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food and China Dolls: A Novel.
Hopgood's book rides from a breathless rush into discovery to heartbreak to the sweetness of sisterhood.
This is a good choice for anyone whose life is intertwined with adoption or multicultural familes -- or anyone who wants to learn about these subjects.
Hopgoods's life is turned upside down when her adoptive mother receives a phone call from the Catholic nun who arranged the adoption. It seems her Chinese family wants to make contact and have her visit them.
Expecting to find rural peasants in a pastoral setting, Hopgood is shocked to find that her family is urban, middle-class, rowdy, unconventional, loud and just a little bit bossy.
Hopgood puts her journalism training to good use as she unfolds the story of her family and tries to assimilate into the world of the Chinese without losing her American identity.
I hope Hopgood writes a follow-up to this book. There is so much more to know.
One day, after Mei-Ling had finished college and was working as a journalist, her adopted mother called her and told her that Sister Maureen, the nun who had facilitated her adoption wanted to see her. Mei-Ling decided to meet with Sister Maureen and when it was suggested that Mei-Ling could probably find her birth parents, Mei-Ling declined. Several months later, Mei-Ling asked Sister Maureen to write to the hospital where she was born. This started communication and eventually visits between Mei-Ling and her birth family.
Mei-Ling Hopgood's memoir, Lucky Girl does give her background, but mostly focuses on her contact and relationship with her birth family after she was an adult. And, what a family it is! I don't want to give too much away, but her birth father is a domineering man with archaic ideas and her mother is a submissive woman. A lot of this is a result of their age and culture, but it was all quite a shock for Mei-Ling. Mei-Ling was thrilled to discover that she has seven sisters (only Mei-Ling and one other sister were given up for adoption, though). Mei-Ling struggles to understand her mother and the choices she made, but her meetings with her birth family only reinforces what she already knew - that she is a lucky girl.
I really enjoyed Lucky Girl - it's a beautiful tale of self-discovery without a hint of self-pity. Mei-Ling readily admits that there were times when she felt different when she was growing up because there weren't many Asians where she lived, but she's also quick to point out that the Hopgoods were wonderful parents who encouraged and loved her and helped her become the strong woman she is today. When she says, "Giving our children even a fraction of the love and generosity that my mom and dad shared is the best legacy that I can think of leaving," she is of course speaking of her adopted parents. After reading her book, I think she will leave a fine legacy.
With a reporter's eye, Hopgood probes her past and uncovers family skeletons that shape who she is today: A much-loved, creative, successful woman who knows that she is indeed a lucky girl.