July 17

Unpolished Gem

Unpolished gem‘Migrant literature usually starts with people suffering a lot and then they come to Australia or America or Canada and they make it big. That is supposed to be the end of their suffering. My book doesn’t tell it like that; it tells it as it is for me and my family…When we came here, my family were in awe of everything, every little thing was incredible, like a wonderland, but the more you aspire towards being white middle class, the more you suffer internally.’

Alice Pung The Age, September 3, 2006.

Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung 305.895 PUN 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. (Goodreads review)

Writers Talk: Alice Pung – Cultural Perspective


Alice Pung on growing up as an Asian-Australian


 Other resources:

Unpolished Gem – Teacher Notes by Pam McIntyre

Unpolished Gem – Suzanne Cory High School wiki – great resources about characters, themes and chapter summaries.

Alice Pung website (NOTE: the links to videos on the RHS do not work)

Interview with Alice Pung

Growing up Asian in Australia – what are the issues migrants face?

Alice Pung’s parents were Cambodian refugees. The ABC 4Corners documentary ‘Survivors of the killing fields’ follows the journey of such refugees. You may also want to watch the movie ‘The Killing Fields’. The first clip in the documentary is taken from that movie.

Read the story of one killing fields survivor, recounted by Patricia McCormick. Here is my review of the book. F MCC Never Fall Down


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