Under the repressive Mao regime, the Wangs decide to leave China. Qian’s parents are highly educated, but as illegal immigrants in the U.S., they can only take on menial work. Without papers they are trapped in a cycle of poverty, discrimination, and a fear of being deported. This takes a toll on her parents’ relationship with each other. Meanwhile, Qian starts school, but receives little support to help her learn English. Through children’s books, she begins to understand and teaches herself how to read. But can the family keep living a life where they fear they may be sent back to China?
This memoir is an insight into the lives of illegal immigrants and the endless hardships that seem impossible to overcome.