I'VE COME A LONG WAY by Helena Kuo


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At first thought, it seems unfortunate that this should come so close to Destination Chungking. On second thought, it should be possible to make the one help the other. They rarely overlap, either in spirit or content, other than both being autobiographies of young women of New China. Where Han Suyin focuses her story on China and makes her picture of Chinese life and tradition and customs and ways of thought part of the implementation of her larger picture, Helena Kuo writes as a Chinese girl revealing her own reactions to her homeland, to Europe, to America. Through her story, one gets more facets of China than in Destination Chungking. Her background was quite different -- her father a self-made man, a successful contractor; her education was more or less self-acquired, for she was driven by an urge to become independent, as a student, as a career woman. Her romance reveals her as innately Chinese -- traditional in her subservience to her man, up to the last challenge, when the new woman in her won the long battle. Hers too is a story in contrasts, as war thrust itself into her life, in Shanghai, in Nanking, in Hangkow, in Canton; her description of the five day trip on the refugee laden steamer reads like a story of the slave traffic. Then the contrast of loneliness in her life in England, in Southern France; her spurts of success, only to sink back into discouragement and failure; finally, America, er escape from invaded France. A revealing picture -- not always flattering to Occidentals; parts of it are vividly written, other parts seem imitative, unreal, but almost always it is an honest story of a girl in whose being two ways of thought and are constantly at war. Read as a human interest story, which will have the advantage of its American present, as Miss Kuo is now on lecture tour in this country.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1942
Publisher: Appleton-Century