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Irena Hood
Irena Hood

Read Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots by Adeline Yen Mah Online or Download in EPUB

Adeline Yen Mah: Falling Leaves - A Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

Have you ever felt unwanted, unloved, or rejected by your own family? Have you ever wondered how your cultural background and historical context shaped your sense of self? Have you ever searched for a way to heal from your past wounds and find peace in your present life?

adeline yen mah falling leaves epub download

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to read Falling Leaves, a memoir by Adeline Yen Mah. In this book, she tells the story of her life as an unwanted daughter in a wealthy but cruel Chinese family during the turbulent times of the 20th century. She reveals how she endured abuse, neglect, and betrayal from her parents and siblings, how she pursued her education and career despite all odds, and how she eventually found love and happiness in her own family.

In this article, we will explore the author's life story, the main themes and messages of the book, the literary style and techniques of the book, the reception and influence of the book, and how to download the book in EPUB format. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of why Falling Leaves is a powerful and inspiring memoir that deserves your attention.

The Author's Life Story

Childhood and family background

Adeline Yen Mah was born in 1937 in Tianjin, China. She was the fifth child and youngest daughter of a successful businessman and his first wife. Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, which made her father blame her for his wife's death. He soon remarried a young woman who became Adeline's stepmother. She was a cruel and manipulative woman who favored her own children over her stepchildren. She treated Adeline as an outcast and a burden, often depriving her of food, clothing, and affection. She also encouraged her husband and other children to mistreat Adeline.

Adeline's only source of comfort was her grandfather Ye Ye, who loved her unconditionally. He taught her about Chinese culture, history, and philosophy. He also encouraged her to study hard and pursue her dreams. Adeline excelled in school, winning prizes and scholarships. She hoped that by doing so, she could earn her father's approval and love. However, he remained indifferent and distant from her.

When Adeline was eight years old, her father moved the family to Shanghai, where they lived in a luxurious mansion. However, Adeline was isolated from her family and society. She was not allowed to have friends or hobbies. She was only allowed to go to school and return home. She spent most of her time reading books and writing stories in her secret diary. She also developed a bond with her older half-brother Gregory, who was kind and supportive of her.

When Adeline was fourteen, the Communist Revolution took place in China. Her father decided to flee to Hong Kong with his wife and their children, leaving Adeline and her other siblings behind. Adeline was devastated by this abandonment. She felt like she had lost her family and her homeland. She was sent to a boarding school in Tianjin, where she suffered from loneliness and depression.

Education and career

Adeline did not give up on her education, despite the hardships she faced. She continued to study hard and won a scholarship to study medicine in England. She left China in 1952, hoping to start a new life. She graduated from London Hospital Medical School in 1957 and became a physician. She specialized in anesthesiology and worked in various hospitals in England and Scotland.

In 1959, she married Byron Bai-Ling, a Chinese engineer who was also studying in England. They had two children, Roger and Ann. However, their marriage was not happy. Byron was abusive and unfaithful to Adeline. He also gambled away their money and forced Adeline to work long hours to support the family. Adeline endured the abuse for the sake of her children, but she was unhappy and miserable.

In 1972, Adeline received a phone call from her father, who asked her to visit him in Hong Kong. He was dying of cancer and wanted to see his children before he died. Adeline agreed to go, hoping to reconcile with him and receive his blessing. However, she was shocked and hurt by his will, which left most of his fortune to his wife and their children, while giving nothing to Adeline and her other siblings. He also disinherited Gregory, who had committed suicide a few years earlier.

Adeline realized that her father never loved her or cared for her. She felt betrayed and angry at him for his injustice and cruelty. She also felt sorry for herself for wasting her life trying to please him. She decided to divorce Byron and move to California with her children. She started a new career as a writer, hoping to find fulfillment and happiness in her own way.

Writing and activism

Adeline began writing about her life story as a way of healing from her past traumas and finding meaning in her present life. She also wanted to share her experiences with others who might relate to them or learn from them. She published her first book, Falling Leaves, in 1997. It was an international bestseller that received critical acclaim and awards. It was translated into more than 30 languages and sold more than one million copies worldwide.

Adeline followed up with other books, such as Chinese Cinderella, which is a condensed version of Falling Leaves for younger readers; Watching the Tree, which is a collection of essays on Chinese culture and philosophy; A Thousand Pieces of Gold, which is a historical novel based on the life of a Chinese concubine; China: Land of Dragons and Emperors, which is a non-fiction book on Chinese history; and Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society, which is a historical fantasy novel for children.

Adeline also became an activist for promoting literacy and education among children, especially girls, in China and other developing countries. She founded the Falling Leaves Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that supports various projects and programs that aim to improve the lives of children through education. She also travels around the world to give lectures, workshops, and speeches on topics such as writing, culture, history, and human rights.

Adeline is now living in Los Angeles with her second husband Bob Mah, who is a retired professor of engineering. She has four grandchildren whom she adores. She is still writing and working on new projects. She is happy and content with her life.

The Main Themes and Messages of the Book

The impact of culture and history on personal identity

One of the main themes of Falling Leaves is how culture and history affect one's sense of self and belonging. Adeline's life story is intertwined with the history of China in the 20th century, which was marked by wars, revolutions, invasions, migrations, and transformations. Adeline witnessed the changes that occurred in China as it went from being an imperial monarchy to a communist republic to a capitalist superpower.

that followed the Confucian values of hierarchy, filial piety, loyalty, and obedience. She was expected to respect her elders, obey her parents, and serve her husband. She was also discriminated against because of her gender, as girls were considered inferior and unworthy of education and love. She suffered from the patriarchal and feudal system that oppressed women and children.

However, Adeline also embraced the Western culture that offered her freedom, equality, and opportunity. She was influenced by the books she read, the schools she attended, and the countries she lived in. She learned to think critically, speak confidently, and act independently. She pursued her education and career, despite the obstacles and oppositions she faced. She also adopted the values of democracy, human rights, and individualism.

Adeline's identity was shaped by both cultures and histories. She was a Chinese woman who loved her country and culture, but also a global citizen who appreciated the diversity and richness of other cultures. She was a traditional daughter who respected her family and ancestors, but also a modern woman who challenged the norms and expectations of her society. She was a survivor who endured the hardships and tragedies of her life, but also a achiever who accomplished her goals and dreams.

The struggle for love and acceptance in a dysfunctional family

Another main theme of Falling Leaves is the struggle for love and acceptance in a dysfunctional family. Adeline's family was broken and unhappy. Her father was cold and distant, her stepmother was cruel and abusive, and her siblings were selfish and hostile. They treated Adeline as an unwanted daughter, a worthless sister, and a burden to the family. They denied her basic needs and rights, such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and affection. They also humiliated, insulted, and betrayed her at every turn.

Adeline longed for love and acceptance from her family. She tried to please them by being obedient, polite, and helpful. She tried to impress them by being smart, talented, and successful. She tried to forgive them by being understanding, compassionate, and generous. However, no matter what she did or how hard she tried, she never received their love or acceptance. They remained indifferent, ungrateful, and hateful towards her.

Adeline eventually realized that she could not change her family or their attitude towards her. She learned to accept herself and love herself for who she was. She also learned to find love and acceptance from other sources, such as her grandfather Ye Ye, her half-brother Gregory, her friends, her teachers, her husband Bob Mah, and her children and grandchildren. She discovered that she had a family of choice that supported her, valued her, and cared for her.

The power of resilience and forgiveness in overcoming adversity

violence, abuse, neglect, betrayal, abandonment, discrimination, oppression, and injustice. She also faced personal losses and tragedies, such as the death of her mother, the suicide of her brother, the divorce of her husband, and the estrangement of her father. She endured pain, sorrow, anger, fear, shame, and guilt.

However, Adeline did not let these adversities break her or define her. She showed resilience and courage in overcoming them. She used her intelligence, creativity, and determination to overcome the obstacles and achieve her goals. She used her education, career, and writing to express herself and empower herself. She used her faith, hope, and optimism to cope with the challenges and find meaning in her life.

Adeline also showed forgiveness and compassion in dealing with her enemies and abusers. She did not seek revenge or hold grudges against them. She did not let hatred or bitterness consume her or poison her relationships. She tried to understand their motives and perspectives, and to empathize with their feelings and situations. She tried to heal the wounds and mend the bridges between them. She tried to let go of the past and move on with the future.

The Literary Style and Techniques of the Book

The use of first-person narration and flashback

One of the literary techniques that Adeline uses in Falling Leaves is the use of first-person narration and flashback. The book is written in the first-person point of view, which means that Adeline tells the story from her own perspective and experience. She uses the pronoun "I" to refer to herself and to express her thoughts, feelings, opinions, and memories. This technique allows the reader to get closer to Adeline and to see the world through her eyes. It also creates a sense of intimacy and authenticity between the writer and the reader.

Another technique that Adeline uses is the use of flashback, which means that she jumps back and forth between different time periods and events in her life. The book does not follow a chronological order, but rather a thematic order. Adeline starts the book with a prologue that introduces her father's death and will in 1990. Then she goes back to her childhood in Tianjin in 1937. Then she moves forward to her adulthood in California in 1994. Then she goes back again to her adolescence in Shanghai in 1949. And so on.

This technique allows Adeline to connect the past and the present, and to show how they influence each other. It also allows Adeline to highlight the contrasts and similarities between different stages and aspects of her life. It also allows Adeline to create suspense and curiosity for the reader, who wants to know what happened next or why something happened before.

The use of symbolism and imagery

and imagery. Symbolism means that Adeline uses objects, characters, or events to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Imagery means that Adeline uses descriptive language to create vivid pictures or sensations in the reader's mind. These techniques help Adeline to convey her messages and emotions more effectively and creatively.

For example, one of the symbols that Adeline uses is the falling leaves. The title of the book is derived from a Chinese proverb that says "falling leaves return to their roots". This means that people should always remember and honor their origins and ancestors. However, for Adeline, this symbol has a different and ironic meaning. She feels like a falling leaf that is rejected and discarded by her family and roots. She feels like she has no place to belong or return to. She feels like she is drifting and wandering in life.

Another example of symbolism and imagery that Adeline uses is the comparison between herself and Cinderella. Adeline often refers to herself as a Chinese Cinderella, who is mistreated by her stepmother and stepsiblings, but who eventually finds her prince and lives happily ever after. She also compares her life to a fairy tale, with elements such as magic, curses, witches, dragons, and castles. She uses these comparisons to show the contrast between her reality and her fantasy, and between her misery and her happiness.

The use of contrast and comparison

The third literary technique that Adeline uses in Falling Leaves is the use of contrast and comparison. Contrast means that Adeline shows the differences between two or more things. Comparison means that Adeline shows the similarities between two or more things. These techniques help Adeline to emphasize her points and arguments, and to create interest and variety for the reader.

For example, one of the contrasts that Adeline shows is between her father and her grandfather. Her father is a cold, distant, and cruel man who does not love or respect her. Her grandfather is a warm, loving, and wise man who loves and respects her. Her father represents the negative aspects of Chinese culture, such as patriarchy, hierarchy, and materialism. Her grandfather represents the positive aspects of Chinese culture, such as wisdom, compassion, and spirituality.

curious, and adventurous. She uses these contrasts and comparisons to show how her personality and fate are different from or similar to her siblings, and how they affect their relationships.

The Reception and Influence of the Book

The critical acclaim and awards

Falling Leaves received a lot of praise and recognition from critics and readers alike. It was hailed as a "riveting", "moving", "honest", and "inspiring" memoir that captured the essence of a human spirit. It was also praised for its "beautiful", "elegant", and "poetic" writing style that conveyed the emotions and messages of the author. It was also commended for its "insightful", "informative", and "educational" content that revealed the history and culture of China.

Falling Leaves also won several awards and honors, such as the Book of the Year Award from Quill and Quire, the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the NCR Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize. It was also nominated for other prestigious awards, such as the British Book Awards, the Whitbread Biography Award, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

The popularity and readership

Falling Leaves was also a commercial success that attracted a large and diverse audience. It became an international bestseller that sold more than one million copies worldwide. It was translated into more than 30 languages, including Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, and Hindi. It was also adapted into an audiobook, a stage play, a radio drama, and a television documentary.

Falling Leaves appealed to people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, and interests. It resonated with people who had similar experiences or feelings as Adeline, such as being unwanted, unloved, or rejected by their families or societies. It also fascinated people who wanted to learn more about Adeline's life story or about China's history and culture. It also inspired people who wanted to overcome their own challenges or achieve their own goals.

The social and cultural impact

gender discrimination, cultural conflict, and identity crisis. It also encouraged dialogue and action to address these issues and to support the victims and survivors of these issues. It also empowered and motivated people to speak up and write about their own stories and experiences, and to share them with others.

Falling Leaves also contributed to the preservation and promotion of Chinese culture and history. It documented and depicted the rich and diverse aspects of Chinese culture and history, such as language, literature, philosophy, religion, art, music, cuisine, customs, traditions, festivals, and values. It also celebrated and honored the achievements and contributions of Chinese people in various fields and domains, such as science, technology, medicine, education, business, politics, and sports. It also fostered and strengthened the ties and connections between Chinese people and other people around the world.

How to Download the Book in EPUB Format

What is EPUB and why choose it?

If you are interested in reading Falling Leaves, you might want to download it in EPUB format. EPUB stands for Electronic Publication, which is a digital file format for e-books. EPUB files have the extension .epub and can be opened by various e-book readers and applications.

There are many advantages of choosing EPUB format for your e-books. Here are some of them:

  • EPUB files are compatible with most devices and platforms, such as computers, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, and web browsers.

  • EPUB files are flexible and adaptable to different screen sizes and orientations. They can adjust the font size, layout, and appearance of the text according to your preferences and needs.

  • EPUB files are interactive and dynamic. They can include multimedia elements, such as images, audio, video, animations, hyperlinks, bookmarks, annotations, and quizzes.

magnification, and contrast.

  • EPUB files are easy and fast to download and transfer. They have a smaller file size and a simpler structure than other formats, such as PDF or DOC.

Where to find the book online?

There are many online sources where you can find and download Falling Leaves in EPUB format. Some of them are free and legal, while others are paid or pirated. You should always check the credibility and legality of the source before downloading


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