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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

My Kid Sister

Chang Ta-chun

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To purchase My Kid Sister

Title: My Kid Sister
Author: Chang Ta-chun
Genre: Novel
Written: 1993
Length: 128 pages
Original in: Chinese
Availability: in Wild Kids - US
in Wild Kids - UK
in Wild Kids - Canada
  • Chinese title: Wo meimei
  • Translated by Michael Berry
  • Included in the collection Wild Kids (see our review), along with Wild Child (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B+ : good, brief novella of youth in modern Taiwan

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Economist . 12/4/2001 .
The NY Times Book Rev. . 17/9/2000 Maureen McLane

  From the Reviews:
  • "Their family is dysfunctional in a uniquely Taiwanese, East-meets-West way, combining Freudian angst (children and parents) with comic walk-on parts for the bearers of Chinese tradition (grandparents)." - The Economist

  • "The occasionally wisecracking tone does not diminish the delicacy of their relationship, and the story's end is stunningly, perfectly abrupt." - Maureen McLane, The New York Times Book Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The narrator of My Kid Sister is a young writer, much like Chang himself. The novella is about the narrator's own experiences, but also very much about those of his kid sister, eight years younger than he is. She's all grown up now -- one of the first experiences the narrator relates is accompanying her when she had an abortion -- but the book explores the various life stages she went through.
       In relatively short chapters the narrator relates various episodes from their lives, painting a loving portrait of the girl as she grows up, undergoing a variety of changes, with new interests and preoccupations. The eight year difference is a large one, but it also makes for a special relationship between the two, one that is not competitive but rather complementary.
       The family itself is mildly dysfunctional, with Mom the most unbalanced of the lot. Grandparents also figure prominently, and brother and sister muddle through, despite parental divorce.
       Chang breezily relates a variety of episodes, focussing in on particular incidents and moments and managing to create a fairly rich portrait in this manner. The narrator is often separated from family and sister -- in the army, for example -- but there is always some contact and some point of reference.
       Chang manages to evoke quite a lot in these few pages. My Kid Sister is a touching portrait, and an interesting view of life in Taiwan.

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Wild Kids: Reviews: Other books by Chang Ta-chun under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Taiwanese author Chang Ta-chun was born in 1957.

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