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Beautiful country : a memoir

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First edition.

"Beautiful Country is the real deal. Heartrending, unvarnished, and powerfully courageous, this account of growing up undocumented in America will never leave you."--Gish Jen, author of The Resisters Ba Ba told me this and I in turn carried it in my heart: so long as we didn't stake claim to what wasn't ours--the things, our rooms, America, this beautiful country--we would be okay. An incandescent and heartrending memoir about Qian Julie Wang's five years living undocumented after immigrating with her parents from China to New York City in 1994. In Chinese the word for the United States, Mei Guo, translates directly to "beautiful country," but when seven-year-old Qian is plucked from her warm and happy childhood surrounded by extended family in China, shefinds a world of crushing fear and poverty instead. Unable to speak English at first, Qian is isolated and disregarded, put into special education classes because she doesn't speak the language and humiliated by teachers and classmates when she strugglesto pay attention because of hunger or exhaustion. She encounters racism, and people of other races, for the first time, shocked at where her family fits in comparison to their status as educated elites in China. After school she works shifts alongside her mother in Chinatown sweatshops. There is so much about Qian's new home that doesn't make sense, but the rules of survival are drilled into her head: If you see a policeman, you must run in the other direction. If anyone asks--or even if they don't--youtell them you were born here. Do as you're told or we could be separated forever. Understanding impliclity the toll this has taken on her parents, Qian tries desperately to cheer them up and mediate their increasingly heated arguments, certain that if sheis good enough, she can hold the family together. In remarkable, unsentimental prose Wang channels her childhood perspective, illuminating the cruelty and indignity of America's immigration system, while also crafting a narrative of resilience from her family's small moments of joy: their first slice of pizza, "shopping days" when the family would unearth unlikely treasures in Brooklyn's trash, and the necessary escape she found in books at the local library. Searing and unforgettable, Beautiful Countryis an essential book about the cost of making a home in a hostile land from an astonishing new talent"--

Available copies

  • 24 of 45 copies available at Westchester Library System. (Show)
  • 0 of 1 copy available at Greenburgh Public Library.

Current holds

10 current holds with 45 total copies.
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Greenburgh Public Library B WANG (Text)
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Search Results Showing Item 2 of 5

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