Dear Mr. JJK, (Anyone else that may be planning on reading my novel, Chasing China, please stop here and read it first as this contains HUGE SPOILERS)
First, let me thank you for taking the time to read my novel, Chasing China. You are one of over 30,000 readers who have downloaded my novel in the last few months and I appreciate your interest. While every reader has the right to review books and publish their own opinion, your review is full of statements that as the author, I would like to address. It is evident that you read the book, but perhaps because you state you are Chinese, English is not your first language? I can think of no other reason that you would have gathered the opinions of details in Chasing China that you did. Therefore here on my own website I will address your misconceptions about the book.
By jjk – See all my reviews (As this is the only book review as of today that you have ever done on Amazon under that screen name. Out of the millions of books you would choose mine means I’m flattered.)
This review is from: Chasing China: A Daughter’s Quest for Truth (Paperback)
The book is more like an American journey report on Suzhou/Shanghai/Xi’an China, and with some details about the orphanages. The idea of the story is okay, but the story itself is being carried on by a series of unrealistic events which are not quite logical, and in a bad rhythm. Not to mention that it is also intervened with a couple of “Hollywood” like scenes. So the general impression that I got is that the author is trying to use a story as a tool to link up each piece of the observations she had got in China. And once the observations are used up, the author could not wait one more chapter to end up the story.
(Here, Mr. JJK, I must answer this by telling you that I could have added many more chapters but unfortunately the book had to end somewhere. It is already considered lengthy at over 90,000 words and 344 pages. I’m sorry if you feel it ended too abruptly, but there will be a sequel.)
Also, as a Chinese I admit that China has a long way to go in terms of human rights. And I do appreciate the author could provide accurate descriptions on some of the facts in China. However some of the key events to complete the story are simply too unrealistic. And I do not think making up stories would help to improve the situation in any way.
(Here I must remind you that though the definition of fiction is in a nutshell, “Making up stories” as you so called it, the premise from Chasing China was created from the true Hunan story in which there were children who were ‘snatched’ from their parents and sold to orphanages, then later adopted by foreign families. You can find that here, here, and here. If you question the experiences the man had in prison, it was also taken from bits and pieces of true accounts from Chinese prisoners and the ordeals they suffered.)
Just to name a few unrealistic things:
1. Tingting, a 15yrs old girl, learned English from her brother, who is an English teacher. Do you know that over 95% of the Chinese students have to learn English from 10yrs old? And even that, most of them could not speak fluent English when they are over 20. There is no way a self-taught 15yrs Chinese girl can talk with Mia like in her native language.
(As you say in the first part of your statement, Tingting was taught English by her brother, who was sent to school and became a professor in Hong Kong. This is very plausible. She was not, as you say, self-taught.)
2. Mia’s father had 2 children when he lost Mia to the officials. And you can tell that both him and his wife were shocked by the lost. How is it possible for them to recover from such a tragedy to give birth a couple of more children including Tingting?
(I never wrote that they had ‘a couple more children’, they only had Tingting after Mia was taken. In the villages of China it is not uncommon for women to have several children, even after tragic events. They are amazing women who have suffered much in life and keep on going.)
3. Think about the story from the perspective of those birth control officials. Asking money for the 2nd child of a northwestern Chinese family under the name of “birth control” is understandable – I don’t mean it is moral. But if they were after the money, why they moved the children to southeastern China instead of waiting the parents to pay the money locally?
(You misunderstand this, Mr. JJK. They used the guise of controlling birth numbers for the one child policy to take Mia, but in most cases they never expect the family to be able to pay that kind of money to get the children back. And to the orphanage, 6000 rmb is a pittance to what they can get for international adoption and future donations from adoptive parents who support the institute their children come from. In the Hunan cases, the orphanage had no incentive to accept a measly 6000 rmb when they could get more through the adoption process.)
4. 6000 yuan is a big amount of money back to 90s in China. If Mia’s parents had the money and were determined to give the money to the gov in exchange for their daughter, I don’t see any reason the orphanage still want to keep Mia and reject the offer.
(Again, see statement number 3. I’m sorry this is so hard for you to fathom, I truly am. I am not surprised, however. During my five years in China, I met many Chinese friends who didn’t even know about the orphanage I worked at and were shocked about the situation there. Once educated about it, they wanted to help. I fault the communist ways for this, as many negative issues are kept under wraps.)
5. Everyone knows that China has birth control. So why the director of the orphanage does not want to tell Mia the truth? Sending some officials to get her passport in the hotel illegally is definitely an overkill for such a case.
(Mr. JJK, your statement here confusing. Of course they would not want Mia to know that she was not truly abandoned by her family. That would put them into jeopardy of prosecution. They wanted to keep her finding details secret and they hoped taking her passport would stop her search and finally send her packing)
6. With the assumption that the guys who broken into Mia’s hotel room were policemen, why Jax went to a police station asking for details of Mia’s case the next day? Is he just too brave?
(Jax was falling in love, so yes—he was brave. I’m glad you got that one right! They made a lovely couple, wouldn’t you agree?)
7. Jax’s parents landed on SF in 1952, and from his story, his parents were adults at that time. So let’s say they were about 20. Jax is having an internship in China and is in about the same age with Mia, so let’s assume he is 25, which means his Mom gave birth of him when she was around 55?
(Again, This is a great find by you and huge error by me. I plan to correct this in the next version of Chasing China. Many thanks.)
Again, Mr. JJK, I appreciate you taking the time to read and review Chasing China, and our exchanges have been very educational for me. Thank you for taking so much time with my book.