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Tracing Our Footsteps cover

Book Details:
  • 208 pages
  • Black & White
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Available Formats:
  • Paperback
  • eBook
  • 978-1-4602-0726-0 Paperback
  • 978-1-4602-0727-7 eBook

American immigration, California, father & daughter, a memoir, about relationships, about family, history.

Tracing Our Footsteps
Fifteen Tales of Hope, Struggle, and Triumph by Wei Wei

Would Yong Da be able to embrace this land of freedom and reside permanently on foreign soil? In 2004, nearly three years after his wife passed away, Yong Da, the author’s father embarked upon the journey of his life to America. Aged and broken-hearted, he was looking for a new beginning. This humorous, moving, and rich memoir is about the author’s efforts to help her dad to fit into a new environment and to re-establish their relationship. It focuses on ordinary, but profound experiences that a father and a daughter shared, reflecting upon their personal values, perspectives, and priorities during a five-year period and offers the reader insight into the life and struggle of a contemporary immigrant family.

Tracing Our Footsteps: Fifteen Tales of Hope, Struggle, and Triumph is truly remarkable — a story of a journey shared regardless of age, race, gender or cultural backgrounds.

Pick the shortest 2 quotes or whatever will fit. The rest can be placed at the beginning of the book.

Set against the sweeping background of twentieth century history, but always deeply personal, Wei Wei's engrossing and seamlessly written memoir is a daughter’s searching and sensitive exploration of her Chinese father’s life, as well as her own journey as an immigrant to the United States.

—Irene Reti, Oral Historian, University of California, Santa Cruz

Wei Wei’s memoir, Tracing Our Footsteps: Fifteen Tales of Hope, Struggle, and Triumph, is both a daughter’s tribute to her beloved father and a thoughtful reflection on her own adoption of U.S. culture following immigration from China. Along the way she struggles with what it means to be a “good daughter” (taking care of her parents and family), what flexibility is required to coexist between two such different cultures, how to truly help a beloved parent cope with the loss of a life-long partner, and how to understand her father’s personal history in the context of Chinese political history. At times compelling, the book is thought-provoking, sensitive, and loving. Many of the questions it raises about cultural values, relationships, duty, and personal growth would serve as excellent starting points for book club discussions or for advanced high school and college courses.

Ann Koopman

Currently retired, formerly JEFFLINE Editor at Thomas Jefferson University

A moving memoir that relates the close bond between father and daughter on their journeys through life in China and America … this honest account of the hopes, struggles and triumphs in their eventful lives is presented in a forthright manner with deep feeling. I was very touched by the emotion underlying these recollections, and inspired by the determination and courage shown by both father and daughter in pursuing their paths in life.

Constance Lim, Editor of A Singapore Life

For her recent “Tracing Our Footsteps,” Wei Wei, a Santa Cruz-based author, sets the hard, cold steel of life upon her anvil. Her hammer is integrity with which she fashions a series of narratives that both affirm without being sentimental and submerge us in depths profound. She has managed to chronicle lives (her own included) by maintaining a distance that only enhances perspective. By the end of her memoir we feel that she has included us in a journey that was as complex, painful, and as joyful and rewarding as any journey we could hope to take. Thus we are thankful that she has invited us, thankful that we now share a deeper insight into the complex realities of the horrors of Mao’s China to the sanctuary of Santa Cruz. In this work, we accompany someone who has not only had the experience but also gained the meaning from particular experiences that she has been able to universalize.

Dr. R.F. McEwen

Professor of English and Humanities

Chadron State College, Chadron, NE

Tracing Our Footsteps offers poignant reflections on the vastly changed worlds of a daughter and her father after decades of separation. Wei draws in readers with engaging first generation stories of coming to the United States as a student juxtaposed with her father’s visits as a widow. Each tale weaves distinct moments in their lives through the contexts of diaspora, social change and loss. Food is a critical element of connection and, yet, cultural differences within families. Their conversations reveal complex relations with, at times, raw emotional landscapes of cultural and personal transformation. The paths that both take in forging new lives offer insights onto steps taken to embrace and maintain family bonds. This touching memoir explores the past to illustrate how to savor the present and celebrate significant pleasures of walking, talking, and being together.

Nancy N. Chen is Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China and of Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good Health.

Wei Wei photo

Wei Wei is a Fellow of the Special Libraries Association and is the editor and co-editor of Scholarly Communication in Science and Engineering Research in Higher Education, 2002; and Leadership and Management Principles in Libraries in Developing Countries, 2004.


Wei Wei

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