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Lucky Girl: A Memoir Review

Mei-Ling was born in Taiwan and at seven months old, she was adopted by a loving American couple, Rollie and Chris Hopgood. The Hopgoods also adopted two boys from Korea. The three children grew up as all-American kids and Mei-Ling was never really curious about her birth family or her life in Taiwan before her adoption.

One day, after Mei-Ling had finished college and was working as a journalist, her adopted mother called her and told her that Sister Maureen, the nun who had facilitated her adoption wanted to see her. Mei-Ling decided to meet with Sister Maureen and when it was suggested that Mei-Ling could probably find her birth parents, Mei-Ling declined. Several months later, Mei-Ling asked Sister Maureen to write to the hospital where she was born. This started communication and eventually visits between Mei-Ling and her birth family.

Mei-Ling Hopgood's memoir, Lucky Girl does give her background, but mostly focuses on her contact and relationship with her birth family after she was an adult. And, what a family it is! I don't want to give too much away, but her birth father is a domineering man with archaic ideas and her mother is a submissive woman. A lot of this is a result of their age and culture, but it was all quite a shock for Mei-Ling. Mei-Ling was thrilled to discover that she has seven sisters (only Mei-Ling and one other sister were given up for adoption, though). Mei-Ling struggles to understand her mother and the choices she made, but her meetings with her birth family only reinforces what she already knew - that she is a lucky girl.

I really enjoyed Lucky Girl - it's a beautiful tale of self-discovery without a hint of self-pity. Mei-Ling readily admits that there were times when she felt different when she was growing up because there weren't many Asians where she lived, but she's also quick to point out that the Hopgoods were wonderful parents who encouraged and loved her and helped her become the strong woman she is today. When she says, "Giving our children even a fraction of the love and generosity that my mom and dad shared is the best legacy that I can think of leaving," she is of course speaking of her adopted parents. After reading her book, I think she will leave a fine legacy.

Lucky Girl: A Memoir Feature

Lucky Girl: A Memoir Overview

In a true story of family ties, journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood, one of the first wave of Asian adoptees to arrive in America, comes face to face with her past when her Chinese birth family suddenly requests a reunion after more than two decades.

In 1974, a baby girl from Taiwan arrived in America, the newly adopted child of a loving couple in Michigan. Mei-Ling Hopgood had an all-American upbringing, never really identifying with her Asian roots or harboring a desire to uncover her ancestry. She believed that she was lucky to have escaped a life that was surely one of poverty and misery, to grow up comfortable with her doting parents and brothers.

Then, when she's in her twenties, her birth family comes calling. Not the rural peasants she expected, they are a boisterous, loving, bossy, complicated middle-class family who hound her daily—by phone, fax, and letter, in a language she doesn't understand—until she returns to Taiwan to meet them. As her sisters and parents pull her into their lives, claiming her as one of their own, the devastating secrets that still haunt this family begin to emerge. Spanning cultures and continents, Lucky Girl brings home a tale of joy and regret, hilarity, deep sadness, and great discovery as the author untangles the unlikely strands that formed her destiny.

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Customer Reviews

A Journey Into the Mind of an Adoptee - Kay Bratt -
Having worked in a Chinese orphanage for several years, I met many children who were later adopted. I have always wondered what it felt like for them to 'look' different than their parents or siblings. I wondered how they were treated at school or in other social settings, were they accepted or discriminated against? LUCKY GIRL gave me an inside look into the childhood and young adulthood of a girl adopted from Taiwan. Mei Ling Hopgood weaves an enlightening story that gave me moments of sadness but also spurts of laughter. So many of her experiences in learning about her culture were familiar to me and kept me turning the pages at a rapid pace. Great job, Mei Ling!

Kay Bratt
Child Advocate
Author of Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage

Adopted daughter discovers her Chinese roots - Terry Mathews - a small town in east Texas
Although she was adopted from China as an infant, award-winning journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood had a typical American upbringing. Growin up, she thought her Chinese parents were were peasants who gave her up so she would have a chance at a good life.

Hopgoods's life is turned upside down when her adoptive mother receives a phone call from the Catholic nun who arranged the adoption. It seems her Chinese family wants to make contact and have her visit them.

Expecting to find rural peasants in a pastoral setting, Hopgood is shocked to find that her family is urban, middle-class, rowdy, unconventional, loud and just a little bit bossy.

Hopgood puts her journalism training to good use as she unfolds the story of her family and tries to assimilate into the world of the Chinese without losing her American identity.

I hope Hopgood writes a follow-up to this book. There is so much more to know.

A very satisfying read - C. Iker -
Lucky Girl is the aptly named story of Mei Ling Hopgood who was adopted as a baby from Taiwan by American parents. Growing up in Detroit, Mei Ling never gave much thought to her birth family until contacted by the nun who arranged her adoption. Mei Ling's Taiwanese birth family was excited to meet her and reconnect with her. Mei Ling's adventures meeting various members of her large and boisterous birth family brings to the surface her many conflicting feelings about her adoption. Throughout the book, Mei Ling takes us along with her as she experiences all of the tumultuous emotions connected with becoming re-connected. This is a heart warming memoir that is a very satisfying read.

*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Jan 31, 2010 23:20:10


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