Searching for Sylvie Lee

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

by Jean Kwok

A story of how people choose to hide who they truly are and how it can affect those you love. Sylvie Lee is the daughter of a Chinese American immigrant, but raised by an aunt and grandmother in Holland because her own parents couldn't afford to keep her. They were poor, barely making ends meet to survive themselves. She finally returned to the U.S. when her younger sister, Amy, was born.


The writing in this story is impeccable. In the beginning it was beauty and I enjoyed the flow. But it is a slow moving story. For this reason the beautiful writing which can be a bit wordy began to drown the story for me. The suspense moves throughout the story, not unraveling until the very end.


Who knows the REAL Sylvie. The story follows Sylvie's, Amy's, and Ma's POV. Each of them adding to the story slowing helping the reader to be introduced to Sylvie. Each of them has their own version of who they think she is. Sylvie playing the part she believes she needs to be in order to gain respect.


The ending took me by surprise. I don't know if it was because I was hoping for another ending. It showed how not only Sylvie was hiding her 'true' self, everyone around her was too. Each family member with their own secrets to hide, wearing masks as to continue the facade of normality.


"Ma told me that while nothing can replace that which is lost, emptiness creates room for new growth." This quote stood out for me.


I read Searching for Sylvie Lee with an IG book club. The discussions brought about thoughts I hadn't thought about and gave insight on a culture I am not familiar with.


A 🌟🌟🌟🌟star read.

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