Her Father’s Daughter

There are some books that I feel entirely incapable of reviewing. This is one of them.

Here is my review on Goodreads:-
Her Father's DaughterHer Father’s Daughter by Alice Pung

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent. Shall write a lengthier response on the blog.


I finished this in a single sitting, months ago, and I still don’t feel capable of writing anything remotely intelligent or satisfying about it.

Alice Pung writes wonderfully, with so much humour, honesty and vulnerability.  As I read this book, even more so than when I read Unpolished Gem, I ached for Alice.  She must hold some of herself back, there must be a private, inaccessible Alice, but her writing is so open, that it seems she laid herself bare.  Vulnerable is exactly the word for her; or, rather, is how I perceive her through her writing.  I wanted to gather her up and defend her.  I wanted to have been her friend when she was a child. She has not had a terrible life; it is full of love and she is fierce in her affections for her family; and best of all, she is doing very well now. She is clearly a strong, brave, independent person; the time she spends alone in Hong Kong and China evidence of that.

But I have this desire to have been her champion when she was a kid. I often have that desire when reading other’s writings about their childhood. I was the kid who fought. I was the kid who befriended the newbie, defended the weak, took taunts and threw punches. I don’t really know why I was that kid. My mother spent a lot of her time telling me to be submissive and not to argue. I didn’t listen to her. I always talked back. I don’t know if it is because there were so many people in my family; I always knew someone had my back if I went roaring into a fight.

It is a great talent on Alice Pung’s part that she can elicit these strong feelings from me. I’ve seen her out and about in Melbourne, and I feel protective of her; so protective, that I don’t actually feel comfortable wandering over and saying, “Hi, I’m Oanh. I like your writing lots. Thanks.” I want to, but I think that she would prefer to be left alone.

This isn’t a review, really. It’s just a ramble about how it makes me feel; not even a particularly coherent one, sorry. The book speaks for itself; just read it. I liked it a lot.



  1. Alice is one of my very good friends, we were tutors at College together the first year I lived in Melbourne, and I honestly think that she’d be completely fine about you going up to her and saying hello. Probably embarassed, as she’s incredibly modest, but she is one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life.

    And yes, I completely agree with you about the book. It was amazing. It was amazing how she could cover such difficult topics with such tact and grace yet not miss out the important gory bits.


    1. I think Alice would be very gracious, but I also think she deserves being left alone – I don’t have anything more profound to say than, ‘Thank you.’.

      I’m very much looking forward to her next, and hopefully, her many more!


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