Book: Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang


This was a quick and fabulous read. The idea of trying to establish a new life as an immigrant or refugee in a new country is not lost on me given that my grandparents were immigrants to Singapore in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and as a 2nd generation Singaporean, my life has been really easy without the rife and hardships some of my peers faced growing up in America or Europe and could never really fit in.

Sour Heart And All Its Feelings

With the fired up Asian representation movement that the film Crazy Rich Asians open doors to, it has shed light on so many untold stories. While I can’t relate to any of the discrimination at all – growing up in a predominantly Chinese populated Singapore in a privileged middle class family, some of the stories that my peers lived through growing up are heartbreaking.

I finished Min Jin Lee’s Free Food for Millionaires a couple of months ago on Korean immigrant life in the US and loved it. Jenny Zhang has a different take growing up between China and the US in an immigrant family, of abysmal crowded conditions and the racism and taunting she has to deal with as a child.

Sour Heart  is a quick and short read, filled with childhood innocence, teenage angst, lofty ambitions, and the struggles of finding her place in this world, time and space and the experience of adolescence through the lens of a generation that’s not entirely “fresh off the boat”. I’d highly recommend it.

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