Sunday, August 23, 2009

BOOKIN' BINGO'S NON-FICTION REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY of SWEET MANDARIN

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED
SWEET MANDARIN:


THE COURAGEOUS TRUE STORY OF
THREE GENERATIONS OF CHINESE WOMEN
AND THEIR JOURNEY FROM EAST TO WEST
by
Helen Tse

Helen Tse’s personal memoir breathes a grace and style that can only be written by someone secure in her own life, while also proud of the three courageous generations of strong women in her family of whom she writes of so eloquently.

Sweet Mandarin starts with the story of Helen’s grandmother, Lily Kwok, who was born to Tai Po and Leung in 1918 in Guangzhou. Like many normal Chinese fathers, hers wanted sons; unlike many normal Chinese fathers, when he did have six daughters instead, he did not consider them inferior.

In those days, having a daughter was almost a curse. During the earliest days of the industrial revolution in China, the silk factories employed children - young children, as young as five years old. Lily was one of those children, and while her father was trying to build a business making and selling soy sauce, young Lily worked in the factories. No child labor laws or consideration of these young children is better epitomized than when Lily faints at one point and a foreman makes an example of her for “not working” by sticking her hand in a boiling pot of water. Fortunately, as Lily’s father’s soy business grew, they left China to go to Hong Kong in 1925. Helen Tse tells this story not with bitterness but rather pride in the way her family came out of poverty and rose above such hardships. She also weaves into the story the love of food and how family recipes were handed down and treasured.

Hong Kong was not the dream come true they thought it would be. They found people jealous of Lily’s father’s success with the soy sauce. Even before he could settle his family securely in Hong Kong, a local gang who envied him murdered Leung. In those days, tradition had it that women didn’t inherit anything from the men, so the family was left to be cared for by other family members as they were forced from their home. Lily took on a job as a maid and nanny to a wealthy British family, and that is what finally brought her to England in the early 1950s. An abusive marriage to a cheating, gambling husband did not stop Lily from fighting to bring her children to England when they were nine and eleven years old. By the time the children arrived, her husband had become addicted to opium and was involved with the Chinese criminal gangs known as the Triads.

His lifestyle, including living with a prostitute, left Lily bankrupt, but that didn’t stop her. With the help of her mentor, Mrs. Woodmen, with whom she had come to England, Lily was able to start her own business. Mrs. Woodmen left her money when she died, and Lily was able to open a Chinese takeout restaurant. Lily’s daughter, Mabel, was raised working in the business and learning the secret recipes of her mother. While all these hardships and tragedies surrounded Lily’s life, the one shining point continued to be the family’s love of cooking and their tasty dishes. This was the gift she passed on to her daughter and, in turn, granddaughters.

Mabel’s daughters, Helen included, were raised in “the business,” and although they all went off to be successful professionals, their love of their family, culture and its food always kept this family united. So it was that a family dream came true when Lisa and Janet joined their sister Helen and opened the Sweet Mandarin Restaurant in England in 2004.

The love, determination, and courage of these three generations of Chinese women covers 100 years and shows that people can achieve what they put their minds to, no matter what obstacles are in their way.

Originally published on Curled Up With a Good Book at www.curledup..com©Karen Haney


HOW ABOUT A GIVEAWAY?
WANT TO WIN?
I have one copy of this amazing memoir
to give away.
Please follow the simple rules
and the book
could be yours very soon!

RULES:

--U.S. Residents Only
--No P.O. Boxes, Please
--Email address must be in your comment
--ALL comments must be separate to count
or they will count as one instead of possibly two.


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: Comment and give a name of someone YOU would like to read a memoir about!

+1 MORE ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about this giveaway and leave link in your comment!

+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow on Google Connect (see left hand sidebar) or tell me how you do follow

DEADLINE TO ENTER IS SEPTEMBER 1!

GOOD LUCK!

53 comments:

Julie P. said...

I'd like to read a memoir about Laura Bush.

bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com

Debs Desk said...

I would like to read a memoir about Brad Pitt. Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9@verizon.net

Debs Desk said...

I am a follower.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9@verizon.net

Brenda said...

I would love to read a memoir of Marily Monroe, I know they are out there, but I haven't had the chance to pick one up!

dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda said...

I'm a follower!

dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda said...

I follow through google reader

dancealert at aol dot com

Kristen said...

This sounds like a great book! I'd like to read a memoir about Joan Benoit Samuelson.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot come

Kristen said...

I follow through Google Reader.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've been wanting to read a memoir about Sam Walton for some time.

Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I follow your blog in Google Reader.

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Jake Lsewhere said...

Looks like a good book, please enter me into this drawing.

I would like to see a memoir about Maynard James Keenan.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.
jake.lsewhere[at]gmail.com

Jake Lsewhere said...

I'm also a follower via Friend Connect.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.
jake.lsewhere[at]gmail.com

Jake Lsewhere said...

I've also blogged about this giveaway here.

Thanks,
jake.lsewhere[at]gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

Another great giveaway! I'd love to read a memoir by my late grandmother. She was an amazing woman. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Debbie said...

I'm a google follower.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail(dot)com

Debbie said...

I wish I could read memoirs about women who lived in Biblical times. I wish they weren't so left out.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail(dot)com

Kaye said...

I just love books set in Asia. If you liked this one, Karen, Gail Tsukiyama wrote a fiction novel called Women of the Silk, with very young girls working in the silk factories. I'd actually like to read a memoir about any of the Nixon women and how they coped with their father/husband resigning and all that Watergate mess.

Kaye said...

I'm a follower


florida982002[at]yahoo.com

Pam said...

I love books set in Asia too! This one sounds really good and the cover is stunning.

I'd like to read a memoir about Madonna - I'd like it to be about the real her though, not the superstar business woman who writes to shock and awe.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

follower

melacan at hotmail dot com

Rebecca C said...

I would love to read a memoir of Pablo Picasso. His work changed so much during his life there has to be a very interesting story behind it.

rebecca[dot]cox[at]charter[dot]net

Rebecca C said...

I am a follower on googler reader.
rebecca[dot]cox[at]charter[dot]net

Rebecca C said...

http://twitter.com/ccqdesigns/status/3514370501
Here's my tweet!!
rebecca[dot]cox[at]charter[dot]net

nfmgirl said...

I'd love to read my father's memoir! He's got the greatest stories, and I am always trying to get him to put them down on paper for posterity. I told him I'm gonna bring a voice recorder and begin recording him telling these stories. That will probably be my first book someday-- the memoirs of my Dad!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I follow

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I blogged it:
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/2009/08/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-08-22-09.html

nfmgirl AT gmail dOT com

Valorie said...

I would like to read a memoir about Jack the Ripper.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

I follow through Google Connect.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Blogged: http://www.morbid-romantic.net/2009/08/24/book-giveaways-08-24-08-30/.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read Hilary Clinton's memoir.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

CherylS22 said...

I'd like to read a memoir about Condoleezza Rice.
megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

CherylS22 said...

I follow on Google Connect
megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Debbie F said...

I would like to read a memoir on Oprah.
Thanks!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

I follow!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Ally in WA said...

I love memoirs! So maybe a memoir about Diane Keaton. I'm sure her life has been very interesting!


rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

Ally in WA said...

Following on Google Friend connect (Ally/rubymoon)



rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

Nelsby said...

I would love to read a memoir about Madonna...I'll bet we'd learn some very interesting things!
Thanks!
Aimee
sierranelsby (at) gmail (dot) com

Nelsby said...

I am following your blog on Google Friend Connect (username Nelsby).
Thanks!
Aimee
sierranelsby (at) gmail (dot) com

Nelsby said...

Tweet: http://twitter.com/Nelsby/status/3587527182
Thanks!
Aimee
sierranelsby (at) gmail (dot) com

Bev said...

Gosh that's a hard one - because so many 'famous' people do write memoirs. I like reading stories of people who have managed to start over from scratch like in the movie - Pursuit of Happiness and the book Breakfast at Sally's.

BevE
merryweatherbookblog@gmail.com

gaby317 said...

This sounds like such an interesting read. I've been fascinated with China for such a long time and loved Life and Death in Shanghai and Wild Swans. This sounds like it will be equally moving.

pls count me in for the contest

i would love to read Josephine Baker's memoirs, she must have had such an interesting and difficult life. it would be wonderful to learn what she was thinking and how she coped with the challenges of her time.

gaby317nyc AT gmail dot com

gaby317 said...

i follow

gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

gaby317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gaby317 said...

http://twitter.com/startingfreshny

tweeted

gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

Beth said...

I'd like to read a memoir about Martha Stewart.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Beth said...

I'm a follower.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Andrea said...

I'd like to read a memoir about Ingrid Bergman.

andie.v107(at)yahoo(dot)com

Alyce said...

I'd like to read a memoir about Martin Sheen (I should see if there are any out there).

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Alyce said...

I follow your blog.

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Hi :) Very good question ... hmmm, I think that I would like to read the memoirs of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

And I am a happy Follower :)

sharon54220 said...

Oh my goodness. This is a hard one. I love reading memoirs. To be honest, I'm waiting for my cousin to finish writing his book. My cousin was 1st drummer for Bruce Springsteen.

Thanks for the chance.

sharon54220@gmail.com

sharon54220 said...

OF COURSE, I'M A FOLLOWER. :))

sharon54220@gmail.com

CLICK HERE TO
SEE MY POLICY