The Good Daughters: A Novel
When our mother and father came to this country, they brought more than just their suitcases full of silk clothes and jade jewelry, more than just their own honeycolored bodies. Along with the photographs and our family seal, they packed a language of four tones and picture-words. With their bare hands they held on to a culture that values honor, discipline, and obedience above all else. In their hearts they carried the determination to succeed no matter what.
All of that and more, they brought with them, and they gave it to us. As their children, we were expected to forge our own paths while following in their footsteps; to fit seamlessly into the American landscape while maintaining our Chinese heritage; to learn and to grow into mature, independent adults without ever disrespecting or dissenting with our elders.
Impossible? Of course. But that wasn't the point. Those irreconcilable differences never entered into our parents’ minds. We could accomplish anything, and we would, because it was expected. Because we were the good daughters