The Throwaway Daughter

Ye, T., & Bell, W. (2004). Throwaway daughter. Toronto: Seal Books.

Age Range: 13+

Rating: 5/5

Grace Dong-Mei Parker wants only to be a typical Canadian teenager. She doesn’t want her predominantly white neighborhood constantly reminding her of her Chinese heritage, nor her adoptive parents forcing her to take Mandarin classes in Toronto. She doesn’t want to think about the family in China that didn’t want her- until she witnesses the Tiananmen massacre on television. As she grows older, she learns she is one of the infant girls abandoned after the introduction of the one-child policy. As an adult, Grace travels back to China, looking to locate the family and uncover the reasons why she was put up for adoption. The novel moves between a memoir-style of the protagonist, Grace, and flashbacks from the points of her family: her family’s reason for adoption, her biological family’s reasons for giving her up, and her own anger and sadness of being an “unwanted” child. While beautifully written, the plot itself is easily resolved for a situation that is so complex.

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