China – Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother – Book
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: July 22, 2005
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother – Book
7 June 2010
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother is a raw and powerful,
very real read that is beautifully told by Xinran, world-renowned journalist;
radio presenter; and author of the best-selling book, The Good Women of
China. Xinran shares the stories of unknown Chinese mothers who, unwillingly
had to give up their infant girls.
By Lindsey Kin
Before I begin to share with you my views on Message from an Unknown Chinese
Mother, Stories of loss and love, I absolutely had to dedicate this review
to my beautiful Chinese mother Debbie, and late grandmothers Sue (RIP); and Loy
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother is a raw and powerful, very real
read that is beautifully told by Xinran, world-renowned journalist; radio presenter;
and author of the best-selling book, The Good Women of China.
Xinran shares the stories of unknown Chinese mothers who, unwillingly had to
either give up their infant girls for adoption; abandon their tiny baby girls
on the streets, hospitals, and on train station platforms; or witness
first-hand straight after birth their newborn child been taken away, and
drowned by the midwife in the ‘Killing Trouble’ water. Although the book has
been translated from Chinese into English, it does not take away from the
essence of what and how Chinese women – mothers in particular – had to bear the
brunt of the one-child policy law; shocking economic conditions; and
disparaging olden-day traditions, in China.
The key focus of Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother centres on a
collection of ten short stories, which Xinran has published from Chinese women
who are either students; peasants; midwives; caregivers of orphanages; adoptive
mothers; and even successful business women – Xinran also includes a story from
a dad, and his self-reproach of having to give up his baby girl. These stories
express the remorse and guilt felt by these women, who loved their babies so
dearly, but were not allowed to keep them. Although each story has a different
narrative to tell, they all share that connecting link of loss and love. The
book sends a genuine heartfelt message from these mothers to their Chinese
daughters who have been adopted overseas, to show them how things really were
for their birth mothers, and to let them know that they were loved and will
never be forgotten.
Xinran makes mention of the fact that she too was abandoned, and that for her,
her biggest dream is to be a daughter – powerful words, and there are a lot
more where that came from. I think that this novel has not only helped millions
of adopted Chinese girls around the world to understand why their birth mothers
abandoned them, but Xinran herself has been helped, too. By doing the primary
research herself, one can only begin to imagine how strong she needed to be
when interviewing the women in her book, touching on a topic so close to home.
Before reading Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother I was oblivious to
the hardships that were faced by the female counterpart living in China – all
of which still continues today within the rural areas, not only as a Chinese
female myself, but as a woman, I began to think to myself “can this really be
true?” Being a girl of Chinese descent, I began to ponder, if I were born in
China, the same year that I was born in South Africa, I would either not be
here to tell the tale of this beautiful book; living somewhere in an unknown
country; or probably experiencing or would have experienced the same hardships
Xinran has written about in her book.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, actually I lie … I loved it, I
don’t know if it is because I am Chinese, or because I am female, or whatever
it may be, I really felt a part of what I was reading. It made me appreciate
the mother that I have, and realise how lucky I am to be alive and spending my
life with my birth mother by my side every day.
I strongly recommend this read for all mothers and daughters……
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