Friday, March 18, 2011

Bitter Melon; Cara Chow Tour Interview & Review

Please Welcome Cara Chow the Author of Bitter Melon!


What would you do if your mother planned every step in your life...and demanded you follow?

Frances has one job in life. To get into Berkeley and become a doctor so that her mother's ambitions for her will be realized. And Frances doesn't think there's anything wrong with that - until the day she accidentally steps into a speech class.

Frances turns out to be a natural at debate and public speaking. But to win in competition, Frances needs to say things she really believes - and to hide what she's doing from her mother. And once Frances steps out beyond her narrowly prescribed life, she begins to question many things about the way she is raised. Frances knows she must be obedient to her mother, who has sacrificed so much for her education. But how much is Frances living out the life her mother wants her to have, instead of the life that's right for Frances?

Interview with Cara Chow Author Of Bitter Melon...

Have you ever lived through an earthquake?

Yes! I actually lived through several minor earthquakes (i.e. under 5.0 on the Richter scale), but I survived two major ones. My first major earthquake was the one mentioned in Bitter Melon, the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989, which measured at 6.9. That was the most terrifying 15 seconds of my life. The force of the quake was so strong that it catapulted our dishes from the cabinets halfway across the kitchen. I had to hold onto the bathroom doorframe in order to remain standing. In Bitter Melon, Frances is in the car with Ms. Taylor during the quake. I based their experience of the quake on my sister’s experience because she was in a car when it happened.

Just when I thought the Big Quake was behind me, I moved to Los Angeles for college just in time for the 1994 Northridge quake, which measured at 6.7. Because of my location, this quake did not feel quite as scary, but it was serious and there were casualties in that one too.

Now I am living near the Inglewood fault line in Southern California. Hmm . . . time to update the will, yes?

Growing up did you ever go against your parents’ wishes?

Most of the time, no. My mom expected me stay out of trouble, and I did that. She insisted that I do well in school and get into a good college, and I did that. My path diverged from her expectations when I was in my twenties. (By American standards, twenties is considered grown up, but for Chinese parents, twenty-something year olds are still kids.) She wanted me to study pre-med, but I studied English lit. She wanted me to marry a Chinese guy, but I married a Japanese-American. At the time, she was a little scandalized, but she has since adjusted, and it’s all good now.

If you could describe Bitter Melon using one sentence what would it be?

Bitter Melon is the story of a 17 year old girl who rebels against her Tiger Mother.

Now for my Random question....Do you believe in Fate?

To a certain degree, I believe in destiny. I believe that every person has something special to offer to the world and that it is our destiny to make that contribution. But I also believe that luck plays a large part in one’s success or failure, much larger than we would like to think. That said, I also believe that we choose our fate to some degree. We often think that we got what we wanted or failed to get what we wanted because of luck or fate, while overlooking all the choices we made that shaped our outcome.

My Review

Life lessons should never be deceitful or painful. You should have family to look to for comfort and love. What if that love has been manipulated and mixed into something ugly. Frances has to travel a journey to find the truth. The truth about herself and her mother.

  This story resonated love and hate and a deeper understanding of twisted love. Bitter Melon bled reality and in the end, truth.  There was a lot of abuse in the book. Not just physical but mental. It didn't seem over done. It felt real.  Even down to the part about Frances who was menstruating and leaked through on to her clothes. How often do you read about a character using the restroom? Not many. Thats just another example how real this was. At first your heart goes to the mother who you feel just wants her daughter to better herself and make her become something more. All parents have this need. Darkness starts to seep onto the pages. It become more about selfishness but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

  I enjoyed Bitter Melon with it's deep dark secrets and it's realism. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys YA and those who are in their 20's and 30's and who grew up in the 80's I think the era will settle easy with you.

Visit Cara Chow Here.

Thank You Cara for taking the time to entertain us.  Another big thank you to Jennifer @ Goodman Media International



TheBookGirl said...

Wow, this sounds interesting. I am currently on a very long hold list for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Blodeuedd said...

Great interview and review :) I liked this two in one thing

YA Book Queen said...

Wonderful review and interview - this book sounds amazing :D

Tipsy - said...

Great concept for a book -- love the interview!

Jenny N. said...

Great review, this one's on my wishlist.

Nina said...

This sounds really good. I cannot wait to read this book.

Juju at Tales of said...

Sounds fantastic. Great review :)