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The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking: A Memoir

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Iris Chang's best-selling book The Rape of Nanking forever changed the way we view the Second World War in Asia. It all began with a photo of a river choked with the bodies of hundreds of Chinese civilians that shook Iris to her core. Who were these people? Why had this happened and how could their story have been lost to history? She could not shake that image from her he Iris Chang's best-selling book The Rape of Nanking forever changed the way we view the Second World War in Asia. It all began with a photo of a river choked with the bodies of hundreds of Chinese civilians that shook Iris to her core. Who were these people? Why had this happened and how could their story have been lost to history? She could not shake that image from her head. She could not forget what she had seen. A few short years later, Chang revealed this "second Holocaust" to the world. The Japanese atrocities against the people of Nanking were so extreme that a Nazi party leader based in China actually petitioned Hitler to ask the Japanese government to stop the massacre. But who was this woman that single-handedly swept away years of silence, secrecy and shame? Her mother, Ying-Ying, provides an enlightened and nuanced look at her daughter, from Iris' home-made childhood newspaper, to her early years as a journalist and later, as a promising young historian, her struggles with her son's autism and her tragic suicide. The Woman Who Could Not Forget cements Iris' legacy as one of the most extraordinary minds of her generation and reveals the depth and beauty of the bond between a mother and daughter.


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Iris Chang's best-selling book The Rape of Nanking forever changed the way we view the Second World War in Asia. It all began with a photo of a river choked with the bodies of hundreds of Chinese civilians that shook Iris to her core. Who were these people? Why had this happened and how could their story have been lost to history? She could not shake that image from her he Iris Chang's best-selling book The Rape of Nanking forever changed the way we view the Second World War in Asia. It all began with a photo of a river choked with the bodies of hundreds of Chinese civilians that shook Iris to her core. Who were these people? Why had this happened and how could their story have been lost to history? She could not shake that image from her head. She could not forget what she had seen. A few short years later, Chang revealed this "second Holocaust" to the world. The Japanese atrocities against the people of Nanking were so extreme that a Nazi party leader based in China actually petitioned Hitler to ask the Japanese government to stop the massacre. But who was this woman that single-handedly swept away years of silence, secrecy and shame? Her mother, Ying-Ying, provides an enlightened and nuanced look at her daughter, from Iris' home-made childhood newspaper, to her early years as a journalist and later, as a promising young historian, her struggles with her son's autism and her tragic suicide. The Woman Who Could Not Forget cements Iris' legacy as one of the most extraordinary minds of her generation and reveals the depth and beauty of the bond between a mother and daughter.

30 review for The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Iris wanted to write the Rape of Nanking so badly she was willing to work every waking hour. She was willing to spend more researching it than she took in on the book advance. She was willing to create her own book tour; she stayed with people in the Chinese community to save on lodging expenses. She did these things for all the right reasons; she did not want the world to forget the victims (and heros) of the Nanking massacre. The book was very uplifting because it was about a person who was wil Iris wanted to write the Rape of Nanking so badly she was willing to work every waking hour. She was willing to spend more researching it than she took in on the book advance. She was willing to create her own book tour; she stayed with people in the Chinese community to save on lodging expenses. She did these things for all the right reasons; she did not want the world to forget the victims (and heros) of the Nanking massacre. The book was very uplifting because it was about a person who was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish her goals. The description of the battle to get Rape of Nanking researched and published read like a thriller. But in the end Iris succumbs to mental illness. The sad thing was she had a husband and parents who cared about her, who could see what was going on, but were unable to help her. First the insurance plan didn't cover her for the therapist they had a recommendation for, another therapist was about to go on vacation for a month, another therapist wasn't accepting new patients and so on. It was extremely hard to get her the help she needed. She was also one of the people who become more suicidal rather than less when put on certain classes of drugs. Because she couldn't get the help she needed in time, one of the most promising historians of our time took her own life at 36.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Boyd Addlesperger

    A more informative account of author Iris Chang's life might have been written by a less invested author than her mother. Ying Ying Chang is a scientist, and like a scientist, she has carefully listed and cataloged major and minor events in the life of her daughter Iris, who committed suicide in 2004. The book is a loving portrait of her daughter, but lacks the impartiality necessary for an accurate picture of the brilliant and, so it seems, somewhat self-absorbed author of "The Rape of Nanking A more informative account of author Iris Chang's life might have been written by a less invested author than her mother. Ying Ying Chang is a scientist, and like a scientist, she has carefully listed and cataloged major and minor events in the life of her daughter Iris, who committed suicide in 2004. The book is a loving portrait of her daughter, but lacks the impartiality necessary for an accurate picture of the brilliant and, so it seems, somewhat self-absorbed author of "The Rape of Nanking." Iris is about Iris...and Ying Ying and her husband are about Iris. One almost feels sorry for Iris' brother, who in the book appears as somewhat of an afterthought. Iris and her scientist husband have a child--and Iris seems more concerned about her career and goals than about her son. What steered Iris from being a super-confindent, very accomplished young woman to someone desperate to die is largely a mystery. The book is engaging at points, but could use some serious editing. It would have been a better book with 100 fewer pages and the use of some of the journalistic techniques that made Iris Chang such a dead-on author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Iris Chang came from modest roots and rose to a big challenge. While I'm a big reader of world history, until Iris Chang, I did not know about what happened in Nanking in 1937. Her work not only informed me, but solidified for me, my growing awareness as to how access to the media shapes the world. Iris Chang didn't change the world, but she changed the world's awareness of itself. Several years ago, I read Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind, which did Iris Chang came from modest roots and rose to a big challenge. While I'm a big reader of world history, until Iris Chang, I did not know about what happened in Nanking in 1937. Her work not only informed me, but solidified for me, my growing awareness as to how access to the media shapes the world. Iris Chang didn't change the world, but she changed the world's awareness of itself. Several years ago, I read Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind, which did not do justice to Chang's legacy. I'm glad to see this new volume that defines Chang and tells the story of her work. Iris, herself, presents a lot of the narrative, through the letters, emails and post cards she sent her parents throughout her short life. Ying-Ying Chang uses this archive to document how Iris grew to be a writer and how she came to write not just a best seller, but a significant history. The extraordinary mother-daughter relationship comes through clearly in descriptions of family life, guidance, and even research assistance. I doubt that Iris or her family could have envisioned the aftermath of the publication of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. Iris became a celebrity, a status which she could not enjoy. The pressure of deadlines, book tours and the cause of the victims drained her. The positive adulation was two edged - readers/fans wanted to share their stories of cruelty and atrocity with her. The purely negative side was the reaction of the right wingers in Japan, a group powerful enough to hold up publication in Japan, organize advertising boycotts and intimidate Iris. It is hard to know what happened in the end. Ying-Ying Chang makes the case that psychiatric drugs, which now label suicide as a side effect, are a possible culprit as were threats from those Japanese who wanted the war atrocities suppressed. This may be the first major biography of a child by a parent. If so, like her daughter, Ying-Ying Chan is breaking new ground. This is the story of Iris, it is not a memorial or panegyric. I recommend it for all who are interested in Iris Chang and her work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I ended up skimming the book because I was tired of the laundry list of Iris' achievements. I'm not belittling her great accomplishments, but there was little insight on the private Iris. Makes sense since it was written by her mother who is trying to understand (and perhaps deny) what happened to her gifted daughter. The book did make me want to search out Chang's books, but you need to look elsewhere for the basis of her eventual mental illness. I ended up skimming the book because I was tired of the laundry list of Iris' achievements. I'm not belittling her great accomplishments, but there was little insight on the private Iris. Makes sense since it was written by her mother who is trying to understand (and perhaps deny) what happened to her gifted daughter. The book did make me want to search out Chang's books, but you need to look elsewhere for the basis of her eventual mental illness.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ghym

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What would make a 36 year old successful, beautiful, much loved woman take her own life? That's the question many asked themselves after author Iris Chang killed herself. Chang wrote The Rape of Nanking, about Japanese atrocities during WW2. This brought her great success, but there was a price. Chang had to deal with frequent burnout from research, writing and touring, not to mention death threats from people who did not agree with what she had written. Her mother's book talks about Iris' drive What would make a 36 year old successful, beautiful, much loved woman take her own life? That's the question many asked themselves after author Iris Chang killed herself. Chang wrote The Rape of Nanking, about Japanese atrocities during WW2. This brought her great success, but there was a price. Chang had to deal with frequent burnout from research, writing and touring, not to mention death threats from people who did not agree with what she had written. Her mother's book talks about Iris' drive to succeed, the success of her books, her desire to be a mother, and her ultimate breakdown. Overly long at parts, this is still a worthwhile if sometimes hard read. The most interesting part, other than Chang's writing The Rape of Nanking, is the mother's theory that antidepressants led to Iris' death. A sad but worthy memorial to a courageous and tragic woman.

  6. 4 out of 5

    SoMuchYirong

    I have so many thoughts about this book. At first, I think this book is just another book written by a helicopter mom but it is not. Yes the tone is sometimes very stereotypical Asian-mom but she is also a great scientist so you can still see her writing logic clearly. The latter half of the book where she discussed their experience with psychiatrists is very well written. I respect Ying-Ying Chang a great deal, for her being a successful and social-concious scientist herself, for her openness a I have so many thoughts about this book. At first, I think this book is just another book written by a helicopter mom but it is not. Yes the tone is sometimes very stereotypical Asian-mom but she is also a great scientist so you can still see her writing logic clearly. The latter half of the book where she discussed their experience with psychiatrists is very well written. I respect Ying-Ying Chang a great deal, for her being a successful and social-concious scientist herself, for her openness and friendship with her daughter, and for her endless effort in setting up fund to support mental health and autism after Iris' death. A lot of people seemed to be disappointed by this book because it did not address "the true reason" why Iris Chang committed suicide. I don't see why, it seems like a combination of not dealing with failure well and the side effects of the psychic drugs. I think this book also deepened my belief that there is a trend that some successful people cannot take failures well (especially Asian kids who were raised very successfully). I was one of them and I had also experienced a very dark period when I can't sleep well for a month and start hallucinating. Also heard 8 cases of "perfect" Chinese kids who study in the States but chose to commit suicide because of very little setbacks. I think it is very necessary to have more people realize how serious this can be. I have finished reading almost every book Iris Chang had written or books related to her. I resonate with her deeply and I envy her to have such a reasonable, caring and strong mom that she can be best-friend with.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    Overall, I think it was a reasonable biography of Iris Chang, as an author and her relationship with her parents. I felt that it was in a way just finely focused on her getting to her writing career. It was one sided in the sense that her mother wrote the book, so overall, I don't think she had a reasonable distance or subjective view on her life. On that same note, it did provide more of a personal insight into some of her daily life, that I don't think would have been added had it been another Overall, I think it was a reasonable biography of Iris Chang, as an author and her relationship with her parents. I felt that it was in a way just finely focused on her getting to her writing career. It was one sided in the sense that her mother wrote the book, so overall, I don't think she had a reasonable distance or subjective view on her life. On that same note, it did provide more of a personal insight into some of her daily life, that I don't think would have been added had it been another author. The book however, left me wanting more. There were some details I felt the mother just seemed so focused on that didn't really properly seem to keep the book going (i.e. details about materials bought for birthday parties and such). The relationship with her brother and husband seemed to be put on the back burner, which was a shame. They were included in the book but not nearly to the extent that I think they had in her life. I would have liked to know more about her relationship with her brother, as well as with her husband. The book certainly did provide some interesting insight into the research and work that goes into writing a book and the toll it takes on a family. Provided some interesting backstory to what she did write.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Winnie Lim

    This was heartbreaking for me to read. The writing itself was okay (writer is not a professional writer), but story was very personally inspiring for me. This is written by her mom and it must be the most heart-breaking thing in the world to be writing a memoir for your own daughter. It reaffirmed my belief that one single individual could tremendously impact the world, and also reminded me how important it is to safeguard one's mental health, especially if we are trying to do something very try This was heartbreaking for me to read. The writing itself was okay (writer is not a professional writer), but story was very personally inspiring for me. This is written by her mom and it must be the most heart-breaking thing in the world to be writing a memoir for your own daughter. It reaffirmed my belief that one single individual could tremendously impact the world, and also reminded me how important it is to safeguard one's mental health, especially if we are trying to do something very trying and testing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I thought this book would be interesting. As I got into it, I was surprised that it wasn't boring, what with all the minutiae of Iris' life and career. Although her mother's book is full of justifications and recriminations, there is really no point in guessing why Iris committed suicide, because it would be only a guess. The fact remains that Iris was at at least one point in time a brave person who gave voice to the voiceless in the face of severe Japanese nationalist opposition. The rest is t I thought this book would be interesting. As I got into it, I was surprised that it wasn't boring, what with all the minutiae of Iris' life and career. Although her mother's book is full of justifications and recriminations, there is really no point in guessing why Iris committed suicide, because it would be only a guess. The fact remains that Iris was at at least one point in time a brave person who gave voice to the voiceless in the face of severe Japanese nationalist opposition. The rest is the universal story of living, succeeding, failing, and dying.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alank

    i worried slightly this book would be an attempted hagiography of iris. to a certain extent, many of the more difficult details, such as iris's husbands connections with the government, iris's possible melancholy at her son's setbacks, and the quick rush to judgment as to iris's death, do give way to her mom's attempt to make sense of the loss of a gifted but troubled individual. there is no doubt that ultimately this a love letter from a mom to her daughter. i worried slightly this book would be an attempted hagiography of iris. to a certain extent, many of the more difficult details, such as iris's husbands connections with the government, iris's possible melancholy at her son's setbacks, and the quick rush to judgment as to iris's death, do give way to her mom's attempt to make sense of the loss of a gifted but troubled individual. there is no doubt that ultimately this a love letter from a mom to her daughter.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    This is an amazing story of an amazing woman, written as a memoir by her mother. A real page turner. Now I want to read The Rape of Nanking.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jason Chavez

    A mother’s portrait of her daughter who worked for the justice of those who who suffered at the hands of oppressors by telling the history that one can’t find in the history books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joemmama

    Iris Chang was an amazing writer. This book, written by her mother, is a wonderful tribute to her work and her life. Iris grew up, wanting to do her best, she worked very hard and ended up writing one of the most heartbreaking, true books I have ever read, "The Rape of Nanking". Growing up, she heard her grandparents speak about the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese on the Chinese people during World War II. She was compelled to write her book after seeing a photo exhibit about the crimes. Ir Iris Chang was an amazing writer. This book, written by her mother, is a wonderful tribute to her work and her life. Iris grew up, wanting to do her best, she worked very hard and ended up writing one of the most heartbreaking, true books I have ever read, "The Rape of Nanking". Growing up, she heard her grandparents speak about the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese on the Chinese people during World War II. She was compelled to write her book after seeing a photo exhibit about the crimes. Iris grew up, wanting to work hard and please her parents, doing well in school, wanting to write. And write she did! She listened to her teachers, and became one of the best writers I have come across.( I think I was so affected by her writing because at the end of World War II my Dad was in China. He saw what had happened there, and always told me how wonderful the Chinese people were.) Her first book, "The Thread of the Silkworm" was about a blacklisted Chinese scientist, and went on to write her most famous book. After writing her highly acclaimed book, she traveled endlessly, lecturing, researching further, writing and along the way she married . I was somewhat confused by her marriage. Her Mother did not say too much about it, except that she was happy, but it seemed to me that they led separate lives for much of the marriage. Iris and her husband were both very driven to succeed. She became depressed when her son was diagnosed with Autism. I am not sure but it seemed to me that all this couple did was work and move from one home to another. Iris wanted to keep her fight alive, and she did not want the "second holocaust" forgotten. As her fame grew, she started taking anti-depressants, suffering a serious breakdown while on a lecture trip. Not long after, she took her own life. Her Mother believes it was caused by the medications, but we may never know. A true voice was silenced, but Ying-Ying Chang, will not let us forget her daughter and her contributions. This was an obvious labor of love and a tribute to an amazing woman. I recommend it to anyone who has read "The Rape of Nanking" and to anyone interested in the life of it's author, Iris Chang. I received this e-book from NetGalley for review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    i feel bad about giving this 2 stars. I skimmed through most of the book hoping that things would get better. Iris Chang was extraordinary for what she accomplished and this memoir written by her mother shows the depth of their relationship and the sorrow and heartache left behind by Iris' suicide. But this seemed like a written narrative as the author revisited her daughter's life - treasured letters, highlights from childhood, and a whole slew of details over Iris' 36 years. Ultimately there a i feel bad about giving this 2 stars. I skimmed through most of the book hoping that things would get better. Iris Chang was extraordinary for what she accomplished and this memoir written by her mother shows the depth of their relationship and the sorrow and heartache left behind by Iris' suicide. But this seemed like a written narrative as the author revisited her daughter's life - treasured letters, highlights from childhood, and a whole slew of details over Iris' 36 years. Ultimately there are no clear answers as to why Iris took her life and the author posits a few theories which aren't necessarily satisfying. I feel the sense of loss, but there are probably other more compelling ways to convey Iris' story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leah Smith

    Written by her mother, it is not a objective view but nevertheless, gives great insight into the life of this highly-motivated scholar and writer. I was eager to know what happened as I heard she died mysteriously. Did she really commit suicide at just 36 at the height of her popularity? Many of the survivors in Nanking looked to her for support and encouragement in demanding an apology and indemnity from the Japanese government. She had received threats from the right-wing groups in Japan.Was t Written by her mother, it is not a objective view but nevertheless, gives great insight into the life of this highly-motivated scholar and writer. I was eager to know what happened as I heard she died mysteriously. Did she really commit suicide at just 36 at the height of her popularity? Many of the survivors in Nanking looked to her for support and encouragement in demanding an apology and indemnity from the Japanese government. She had received threats from the right-wing groups in Japan.Was the pressure and controversy too much for her? Researching another difficult book on the Bataan Death March took its mental toll also. This book sheds light on her mental state as well as documenting an amazing life.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    This is fascinating look into the life of the late author Iris Chang who wrote the controversial book The Rape of Nanking, and who else would know Iris' life the most is her own mother Ying Ying. I thought no one else should or could tell Iris' story than her own mother. I felt Ying Ying did a great job at telling readers who her daughter was before she wrote The Rape of Nanking as well as the life and success that came with the book, the good, the bad and the ugly. Iris' death was tragic and un This is fascinating look into the life of the late author Iris Chang who wrote the controversial book The Rape of Nanking, and who else would know Iris' life the most is her own mother Ying Ying. I thought no one else should or could tell Iris' story than her own mother. I felt Ying Ying did a great job at telling readers who her daughter was before she wrote The Rape of Nanking as well as the life and success that came with the book, the good, the bad and the ugly. Iris' death was tragic and untimely no doubt about it but I think Ying Ying wanted to make sure that there was more to Iris Chang than her passing, and that she did. What a wonderful tribute to her daughter.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Kessler

    This was written as a scientist-researcher mother might write about an exceptionally talented historian daughter who died. I found much of it tedious but I appreciated the few scattered nuggets within. I appreciated learning about the struggle Iris Chang experienced in her rise to fame. This is a book that documents a parent's relationship with a child and that child's successes over time in a search to explain why that child's end is inconsistent with the way she lived her life. If you're looki This was written as a scientist-researcher mother might write about an exceptionally talented historian daughter who died. I found much of it tedious but I appreciated the few scattered nuggets within. I appreciated learning about the struggle Iris Chang experienced in her rise to fame. This is a book that documents a parent's relationship with a child and that child's successes over time in a search to explain why that child's end is inconsistent with the way she lived her life. If you're looking for details, this is a good read. If you're looking for juicy, this is not it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Yee

    I picked this book, solely based on the fact that it was written by a mother for her daughter. It's like taking a peek behind a magician's coat; an attempt to find out the 'workings' of a celebrated author. It turn out to motivate me to read the Rape of Nanking' with an added motive. To this day, I can still feel the pain of a mother, not knowing for sure and always wondering about all the 'ifs...'. I picked this book, solely based on the fact that it was written by a mother for her daughter. It's like taking a peek behind a magician's coat; an attempt to find out the 'workings' of a celebrated author. It turn out to motivate me to read the Rape of Nanking' with an added motive. To this day, I can still feel the pain of a mother, not knowing for sure and always wondering about all the 'ifs...'.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Written by Chang's mother, this is an honest, straightforward account of the author's life and work, and suicide in 2004. The memoir is informative but not terribly insightful. It's interesting to compare this it with Finding Iris Chang written by a friend of Chang, a book which Ying-Ying Chang does not name in her account but alludes to as an inaccurate account of her daughter's mental illness. Written by Chang's mother, this is an honest, straightforward account of the author's life and work, and suicide in 2004. The memoir is informative but not terribly insightful. It's interesting to compare this it with Finding Iris Chang written by a friend of Chang, a book which Ying-Ying Chang does not name in her account but alludes to as an inaccurate account of her daughter's mental illness.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I enjoyed reading about Iris and it was clear that her mother thought the world of her and was very proud of her achievements. The con side to her mother writing the book is that there were a lot of details that just aren't important to the reader and could be left out, though they were obviously very important to Mrs. Chang. I enjoyed reading about Iris and it was clear that her mother thought the world of her and was very proud of her achievements. The con side to her mother writing the book is that there were a lot of details that just aren't important to the reader and could be left out, though they were obviously very important to Mrs. Chang.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vivian Nguyen

    Very insightful memoir. A bit tedious to read through especially at the beginning because it was just detail after detail about the late Iris Chang's life. Eventually, as she started to become a successful author, it got more interesting. Also particularly found the part where it highlighted Iris Chang's mental breakdown and eventual suicide interesting. Very insightful memoir. A bit tedious to read through especially at the beginning because it was just detail after detail about the late Iris Chang's life. Eventually, as she started to become a successful author, it got more interesting. Also particularly found the part where it highlighted Iris Chang's mental breakdown and eventual suicide interesting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacq Jardin

    Provides good insight into the writing career and achievements of the late brilliant Iris Chang. While reading, however, one often gets the feeling that it lacks the impartiality necessary to objectively portray Iris' life. Not surprising as it's written from a mother's point of view. Provides good insight into the writing career and achievements of the late brilliant Iris Chang. While reading, however, one often gets the feeling that it lacks the impartiality necessary to objectively portray Iris' life. Not surprising as it's written from a mother's point of view.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Iris Chang's Mother writes an unbelievable memoir for her daughter. I so wish she was still alive. I would have loved to meet Iris Chang & her family. Ying Ying I praise you for how you raised you daughter, & on this incredible book you wrote. Iris Chang's Mother writes an unbelievable memoir for her daughter. I so wish she was still alive. I would have loved to meet Iris Chang & her family. Ying Ying I praise you for how you raised you daughter, & on this incredible book you wrote.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karol K

    Writtten by the mother of the author Iris Chang. This is an unsophisticated account of the author's life and suicide. . Writtten by the mother of the author Iris Chang. This is an unsophisticated account of the author's life and suicide. .

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rock Angel

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-05-15... http://www.cleveland.com/world/index.... http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-05-15... http://www.cleveland.com/world/index....

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Interesting recount of Chang's life. Clearly biased and focused on medication as a danger, but it gives a lot of insight to Chang's childhood and struggles as a young successful writer. Interesting recount of Chang's life. Clearly biased and focused on medication as a danger, but it gives a lot of insight to Chang's childhood and struggles as a young successful writer.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy Beck

    Mother trying to get over daughter death by whitewashing past

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Hayes

    What a soul! A beautiful human being whose life must be celebrated!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    This book was very drawn out and the details could have been reduced by at least 100 pages. I should have treaded more cautiously knowing that the book was written by her mom.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sowmya

    The book is a memoir. If you did not want to know about the story of Iris Chang (whether it's from the perspective of a mother or not), this book is not for you. It helped that I read her book "The Rape of Nanking" first before reading this. Iris Chang was the Woman Who Could Not Forget. The book is written by Iris Chang's mother. It's only natural that there is a strong voice of a mourner above anything else. The writing itself is mediocre and mundane. But given that she is not an aspiring writer The book is a memoir. If you did not want to know about the story of Iris Chang (whether it's from the perspective of a mother or not), this book is not for you. It helped that I read her book "The Rape of Nanking" first before reading this. Iris Chang was the Woman Who Could Not Forget. The book is written by Iris Chang's mother. It's only natural that there is a strong voice of a mourner above anything else. The writing itself is mediocre and mundane. But given that she is not an aspiring writer and her higher goal being that of a mother who wants to share with the world, the gifts of her daughter and a life that ended too soon, I do not fault her for that. Still, I couldn't help feeling that the author was self-serving more and reporting less, which again, I readily atrribute to the guilt of a grieving mother. A detailed account of Iris' life through stories shared by her colleagues, friends, husband, father and even her son (in addition to her mother's side of things) could have made it better. I am unable to shake the disappointment of expecting a lavish feast but thrown a few crumbs instead, which I must say, in no way makes up for the gaping hunger.

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