Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Paper Daughter (fiction)
When the person with the real answers is gone,
How far can you search back into the past without losing yourself?
Maggie knows that she wants to be a reporter like her father, recently killed by a hit-and-run driver. But when investigations get too close to home, when the truth upends everything she thought she knew about her family background...
Her hometown of Seattle has always been shaped by immigration and change - from its wild days as a frontier logging town through the countless immigrants from China who made one corner of the city their own, despite the strangling restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
So what does Maggie discover about her family's past and her own future?
Find out at your local library or independent bookstore on our World Wednesday - and remember to share family stories around the table this Thanksgiving.
Book info: Paper Daughter / Jeannette Ingold. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. [author's website] [publisher site] [student video book trailer]
Recommendation: As a young journalist, Maggie Chen has her late father's writing skills and reporting instincts. His recent death has left a gaping hole in her life, but she is determined to complete the summer internship he helped her arrange at the local newspaper.
That Jillian rushed in and grabbed photo desk before Maggie could even open her mouth - good thing Maggie won't be working directly with the other intern, who is all talk and nosiness. But internship means trying every aspect of the job, so she'll start at the sports desk and move to other assignments as the summer goes on.
Maggie and her professor mom start to notify Dad's out-of-town contacts about his death, about that hit-and-run driver. When one call connects Maggie to Dad's best friend in college, pieces of his life story begin to crumble as the truth about his past erases the family stories that he'd always told them. Now she's wondering about the unfinished articles in her dad's files.
If Dad wasn't from a well-to-do family, then where did he come from? Why did he contact so many people in California just before his death? Was he in Seattle's old Chinatown on the day he died for a newspaper story or on a personal investigation?
During her first "hard news" assignment, Maggie learns that someone else was killed in the same area on the same day, someone who might have been ready to blow the whistle on corrupt land development deals. Was her father's death connected to that, too?
Murmurs of Chinese immigrants' stories thread through Maggie's search for answers, stories of "paper sons" claimed as blood relatives on immigration applications, of changed names and unchanged resentments. Can she ever know who she really is? (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.