A River of Stars

A River of Stars

Book - 2018
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"In a powerful debut novel about motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman makes her way to California and stakes a claim to the American dream. Holed up with other moms-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory job and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now she's carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, he's overjoyed because the doctors confirmed he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his son has every advantage, he has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince. As Scarlett awaits the baby's arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend. Then a new sonogram of Scarlett's baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a van--only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. They flee to San Francisco's bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn't know is that her baby's father is not far behind her. -- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2018
ISBN: 9780399178788
Characteristics: 292 pages ; 25 cm


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Oct 18, 2018

I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it takes off like a freight train. But then it slows as it makes the long pull into the station. Upon arrival, everyone gets off in a hurry.

As I was reading I wondered what I could say about this book without revealing any spoilers. I asked myself, What would George do? Orwell, I think, would have drawn a comparison to the two protagonists and the social milieu from which they came before their resettlement in the United States. One has had a hard scrabble life in mainland China while the other is a daughter of affluence raised in Taiwan. While both women can be considered Chinese, their sub-cultures differ greatly. More could have been made of this fact, however the characters' sub-cultural differences were only superficially addressed. Perhaps that was for the best, since other details explored the complexity of arriving from one culture and settling into another.

The novel had every reason to end in some degree of tragedy. However, it reminded me far too much of Horatio Alger's version of the American Dream.

debwalker Jul 19, 2018

I have met women in this situation. Here in Toronto. The tough road for women caught up in the birth tourism game. Strong reviews.


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