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***An Ocean Apart, a World Away

by Lensey Namioka

Reviewed April 19, 2003.
Delacorte Press, New York, 2002.  197 pages.

Here’s a book that I picked up, intending to read a chapter or two, and didn’t put down until I finished.  An Ocean Apart, a World Away tells the story of Yanyan, a girl of 1920's China who wants to be a doctor.

I don’t know much about 1920's China, so that aspect of the book was fascinating.  I didn’t know that a girl could dream of being a doctor in that setting.

In order to pursue her dream, Yanyan must make some hard choices and go to school in America.  There, everything is different.  She sees prejudice against women and against Chinese, and she must learn how to get along on her own in a different culture.  Most of all, Yanyan must choose which is more important to her:  becoming a doctor or becoming a wife.

This is a well-written novel.  The character of Yanyan pulls us in, and we can see America through her eyes and feel her determination.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved. 
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