Synopses & Reviews
Frances has one job in life: to get into Berkeley and become a doctor so that her mother's ambitions will be realized. And Frances doesn't think there's anything wrong with that, until the day she accidentally steps into a speech class and begins to discover a talent her mother wouldn't approve of.
Frances turns out to be a natural at debate and public speaking. But to win in competition, she needs to say things she really believes--and to hide what she's doing from her mother. And once Frances steps out beyond her narrowly prescribed life, she begins to question many things about the way she is raised. Why can't she go to a dance with a boy who likes her? Why can't she get a job, or have any money of her own? And most of all, why is her mother never happy with her?
Frances knows she should be obedient, and that her mother has sacrificed everything so she can succeed. But when it's time to take the biggest step of her life, will Frances have the courage to defy her mother?
First-time novelist Cara Chow creates an unforgettable story of a young woman finding her voice against a background of strong cultural tradition and a mother whose ambition for her shows two very different sides to maternal love.
Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school. But is being a doctor what she wants? It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her? Set in the 1980s.
About the Author
Cara Chow was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the Richmond district of San Francisco, where Bitter Melon is set. She attended an all girls' Catholic high school, competed in speech, and had an encouraging speech coach, which served in part as the inspiration for her novel. She was a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow in 2001. In addition to writing, Cara also teaches Pilates. She currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and son. Bitter Melon is her first novel.