Angela Lee Chen
Blue Peony Publishing (2019)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (05/19)
Dr. Angela Lee Chen has led a very interesting life. In “Standing Out: a Cross-Cultural Journey of Self-Discovery,” she shares stories about her journey of self-discovery.
Being of Chinese descent, Angela was born in New York and raised in Kenya while her Chinese father worked as a diplomat for the United Nations. As a student in Kenya, Angela’s education provided her with interesting memories of being able to interact with the children of other diplomats from all over the world, and with local Kenyans. The family vacations to China gave her a chance to explore the country. As an adult, she pursued her higher education in the United States and remained here. These cross-cultural experiences enabled her to see things from a more global perspective, but they also taught her that she does not have to allow herself to be pigeon-holed into common stereotypes that are based solely upon her appearance. As her parents begin to decline and she suffers the loss of her father, Angela takes over the care of her mother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. While dealing with losing both of them, Angela has an opportunity to learn more about this very reserved couple. Friends, family and their personal possessions provide her with information that help give her a better understanding of who they were. From what I read, it’s clear they were pretty amazing people.
Angela Lee Chen is a talented writer, who has mastered the technique of being able to switch in and out of different timelines in her life, without confusing the reader. While I perused each chapter, I found myself getting more and more caught up in what she had to say. This book has many facets that held my attention. She takes readers into her life while she lived in exotic places. We also get to follow along with her and observe her family dynamics. As we go further into learning about her parent’s lives, we gain an understanding of what made them the way that they were. We also get to see how their friends and family from the outside saw them. Angela learned much about them through the eyes of others.
“Standing Out: a Cross-Cultural Journey of Self-Discovery,” by Angela Lee Chen is a story about someone else’s amazing life, and it impacted me in a way that had me reflecting upon my own. It made me ask myself questions like, “How will I be remembered?” Is the answer to this the same as, “How do I want to be remembered?” It also made me look at my possessions and think about how others will view them after I am gone. I have so many reasons to recommend “Standing Out!” Readers who enjoy memoirs/biographies will love getting their hands on this one. Well done!