The Life of a Banana by P P Wong

The Life of a Banana

P P Wong

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.

Extract

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.

Parallels
  • The Curry Mile by Zahid Hussain
  • Gifted by Nikita Lalwani
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Books with similar mood

Critical Injuries

Joan Barfoot

Lyrics Alley

Leila Aboulela

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

Coastliners

Joanne Harris

You Came Back

Christopher Coake

Big Cherry Holler

Adriana Trigiani

The Paris Wife

Paula McLain

The Chapel at the Edge of the World

Kirsten McKenzie

The One Who Wrote Destiny

Nikesh Shukla

The Baghdad Clock

Shahad Al Rawi

Wednesday's Child

Eloise Millar

The Probable Future

Alice Hoffman

The Colour of Water

Angela Green

The Cryptographer

Tobias Hill

Conjure

Michael Donaghy

Lying Awake

Mark Salzman

To the Bright Edge of the World

Eowyn Ivey

A Trick I Learned from Dead Men

Kitty Aldridge

Among Others

Jo Walton

Random Acts of Heroic Love

Danny Scheinmann

The Other Wind

Ursula Le Guin

The Long Afternoon

Giles Waterfield

The Saffron Kitchen

Yasmin Crowther

The Tenth Muse

Catherine Chung

Villa America

Liza Klaussmann

The Road From Damascus

Robin Yassin-Kassab

And the Wind Sees All

Gudmundur Andri Thorsson

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman

Eve Harris

The Laws of Evening

Mary Waters

Baking Cakes in Kigali

Gaile Parkin

22 Britannia Road

Amanda Hodgkinson

The Bookman's Tale

Charlie Lovett

Wonder

R J Palacio

Ten Little Indians

Sherman Alexie

A Leaf Out of His Book

Penelope Shuttle

Protection

Molly McCloskey

West

Carys Davies

The Good Guy

Susan Beale

The Silversmith's Wife

Sophia Tobin

With My Lazy Eye

Julia Kelly

A Moth at the Glass

Mogue Doyle

A Girl Could Stand Up

Leslie Marshall

July,July

Tim O'Brien

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

Andrew Miller

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Helen Simonson

Drinking Midnight Wine

Simon R Green

Hotel of the Saints

Ursula Hegi

Just Friends

Robyn Sisman

Dance Real Slow

Michael Grant Jaffe