Beautiful Country a Memoir of an Undocumented Childhood PDF

The Chinese word for America, Mei Guo, literally means “beautiful country.” However, when Qian, then seven years old, comes in New York City full of curiosity in 1994, she is overcome by crushing fear and shortage. Qian’s parents were professors in China; in America, her family is “illegal,” and survival will require all the determination and tiny pleasures they can summon.

Qian’s parents work in sweatshops in Chinatown. Instead of laughing at her jokes, they argue all the time, taking out their frustrations on each other. Qian, who is teased by her classmates and instructors because of her inadequate English, seeks refuge in the library and learns the language through books, eventually considering The Berenstain Bears to be her first American friends.

And Qian relishes it wherever she can find it: her first bite of gloriously greasy pizza, weekly “shopping days,” when Qian finds small treasures in the trash lining Brooklyn’s streets, and a magical Christmas visit to Rockefeller Center—confirmation that the New York City she saw in movies actually exists.

But then Qian’s feisty Ma Ma falls, revealing a long-hidden sickness that she had kept hidden for months due to the expense and scrutiny of a doctor’s visit. As Ba Ba retreats farther into himself, Qian has little to cling to except his repeated refrain: Whatever happens, say you were born here and have always lived here.

City on Fire Goodreads (About The Author)

QIAN JULIE WANG is a Swarthmore College and Yale Law School graduate. She used to be a business litigator, but now she’s the managing partner of Gottlieb & Wang LLP, a firm dedicated to education and civil rights advocacy. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other publications. Salty and Peppers, her two rescue dogs, reside with her in Brooklyn with her husband.

City on Fire Goodreads Release Date

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Doubleday (September 7, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0385547218
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0385547215

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