Portrait of an immigrant family


Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Book Review:  3 out of 5 star rating

Sylvie Lee is a successful, beautiful woman.  Her younger sister, Amy, idolizes her.  When news reaches them that their grandmother is dying in the Netherlands, Sylvie flies there to be with her.  Sylvie grew up in the Netherlands.  Her parents were too poor to take care of her when she was born and sent her to live with her grandmother and the Tan family.  Sylvie didn’t return to the US and her parents until she was 9 years old.  But now Sylvie has returned to the place she thinks of as home.  But Amy and her parents become deeply upset when Sylvie disappears and they are unable to get any answers as to what happened.  Shy Amy must find the courage to go find her sister.  Her search for Sylvie uncovers long concealed family secrets.

The book fluctuates between chapters detailing Amy’s search for Sylvie and Sylvie telling her story starting a month earlier when she leaves for the Netherlands and occasionally a chapter from their mother’s point of view.  The character development in this book is very good and I cared about this family.  The author does a particularly good job of detailing the cultural differences and problems this immigrant family faced and the racism shown to the Chinese in the Netherlands.  But I was disappointed in some respects and felt parts of the books were too much like a soap opera.  I did not feel that the ending rang true at all and it felt out of place to me.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

2 thoughts on “Portrait of an immigrant family

    1. Yes, same for me, Ethan. This book had some wonderful moments in it but then also some disappointing moments. That ending just left me feeling let down and confused.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s