Young orphaned Xing and her older brother Lai Ker suffer from bereavement, racism and bullying. Then there's their stern old Grandma to contend with and her traditional Chinese ideas on bringing up kids. I found myself rooting for brave, lovable Xing and desperately hoping things would work out for her. A quirky, easy read which tackles some big issues with humour and compassion.
Grandma gestures at us to join her at the bottom of the huge, spiral staircase. I try to listen to her, but I can’t stop staring at the golden, carved roses snaking through the bannisters. Each rose is so beautiful like they belong to the garden of the Queen. Grandma walks to the middle of the staircase and looks a lot taller than five foot.
'Xing Li you go red room. Lai Xing you go blue room. We start lunch thirty minutes. Never be late. If late you like gravestone "Late Lai Xing", "Late Xing Li" so never be late. That is that.'
Grandma turns her back to us and I see her tiny feet carrying her s-l-o-w-l-y up the stairs. I guess that’s the end of her welcoming speech.