Basically a story about a mother and daughter who immigrate from Hong Kong to New York. The heroine Kim Chang takes us through her journey of overcoming extreme poverty to rising success. Kim's aunt Paula has helped them come to America but when they arrive she dumps them in a condemned apartment, and puts them to work in a clothing factory "sweat shop." Kim is determined to better her and her Ma's existence, so begins her journey of a double life. During the day she works hard at school to get good grades and to fit in as well as she can with the other kids, and in the evening she goes to the factory to help her mother work for a meager living.
I think what saddened me the most was having to see Kimberly take on adult responsibilities so young. She wants to have friends and a normal family life, but she is so ashamed of her poverty, and fearful that her mother will loose her job that she goes through great lengths to keep it secret.
Both a sad and inspirational read. It does make you want to give pause and think about how much we take for granted.