Tiger Daughter

Tiger Daughter by Rebecca Lim, Can be read in a few hours depending on your speed, Middle Grade

One of the hardest things to convey is the challenge children of immigrants face trying to navigate both the culture of their parents and the culture of where they live. Perhaps even harder is to explain what it’s like to be the wife of someone who decided to immigrant to another country. Tiger Daughter accomplishes both.

Told through the eyes of 13-year-old Wen, the only child of Chinese immigrants, we get a glimpse into what it’s like to grow up Asian in Australia. She is expected to keep her head down, ace all of her classes, and be an obedient daughter. But Wen is also a dreamer who wants to explore art and drawing, go to birthday parties, and have fun. When Wen’s friend Henry encounters a tragedy, her love and care for her friend leads her to break some rules and maybe even find a bit more of her own voice.

While Tiger Daughter focuses on Wen, we also learn a bit of what it’s like to be in Wen’s mother’s position as a wife of someone who wanted to immigrate for a better life, only to find your chosen country doesn’t want you. Rejection after rejection has led Wen’s father to become an abusive and controlling father/husband. But, when Wen decides to break the rules, she draws her mother into her actions. Together, they work to care for Henry without Wen’s father finding out. When he does, of course, it’s not good. But, both the act of caring for Henry and the discovery of these actions lead both Wen and her mother to decide what is worth fighting for and what is not.I think a lot of children of Asian immigrants will find something to connect to in this book. (I know I certainly did.) But, just as importantly, so will those who aren’t children of immigrants. And maybe by reading Tiger Daughter, we break down more of the walls that divide and find the things that pull us together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: