• Unpolished Gem

  • My Mother, My Grandmother, and Me
  • By: Alice Pung
  • Narrated by: Melissa Chambers
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • 3.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"This story does not begin on a boat." So commences Alice Pung’s memoir. This is an original take on a classic story - how a child of immigrants moves between two cultures. In place of piety and predictability, however, Unpolished Gem offers a vivid and ironic sense of both worlds. It combines the story of Pung’s life growing up in suburban Footscray with the inherited stories of the women in her family - stories of madness, survival, and heartbreak. Original and brave, this is a girl’s own story that introduces an unforgettable voice and captures the experience of Asian immigrants to Australia.

©2006 Alice Pung (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"There’s something striking on every page of Unpolished Gem." (Helen Garner)
"Pung has a seductive way with language, an eye for telling detail, and a gift for comic dialogue." ( Australian Book Review)
"... an intelligent and touching insight into the culture-hopping that so many first-generation Australians undertake." ( The Herald Sun)

What listeners say about Unpolished Gem

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I preferred the hardcopy book to the audio

Where does Unpolished Gem rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was my first ever audiobook and it was average. Not really impressive enough so that I would like to listen to more audiobooks, but not bad enough for me to give it a low rating either.

Any additional comments?

The slightly awkward, cautious way the narrator read the parts and names that were foreign to her detracted from this book. Otherwise, I think she made a good effort to bring out the drama of the conversations using different talking voices for different characters.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-02-21

narrator sounds so sarcastic

unpleasant listening to the narrator, she makes the book sound mean. will try the book instead

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-14-21

Good story, not sure about the accents...

Nice, interesting, enlightening tale. Narrator had a nice voice BUT I'm sorry, I just found the accents quite cringey to listen to; not sure they were necessary. By halfway I just wanted the book to be over because it pained me to listen to the accent attempts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Blossominoz
  • 08-13-21

A poignant story of growing up

Beautifully written memoir of growing up in a migrant family. I loved the eccentricities of each relative. Very funny in parts and sad in others. I enjoyed this book.

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  • Jill Robertson
  • 09-07-22

Cross cultural heritage

Yet another excellent book dealing with the issues faced by the second generation of Chinese immigrants as they live across two cultures.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-21

Entertaining memoir by Melbourne-born migrant

The memoir is well-written and entertaining, with a real sense of the life of the first female child in the family, born in Melbourne to Cambodian migrants. Her experience of the contrast between her upbringing and that of her "Australian" peers is funny and enlightening. She does not pull any punches and is often quite critical of her parents and their friends, whilst still appreciating why they have such strict rules and querky beliefs. However, the Australian-born narrator sounds quite racist when she does the voices of the migrant women in a very exaggerated, caricatured way. It made me feel guilty to be listening to this audiobook as it felt disrespectful to these migrant women with English as a second language.

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