As far as Hsin can tell, her mother Anna always gets what she wants. She doesn’t mean it in a bad way, but being able to get things out of people is just her mother’s way of dulling the pain of being dealt an unlucky hand.
Because Anna was adopted. Her birth mother, a poor country girl from Taiwan’s south, was worked nearly into an early grave. Her adoptive mother loved her deeply, but her new father was really only interested in having a son. Her older brother ignored her. When her adoptive mother grew ill and died, she was forced out on her own. A boyfriend followed, but he soon disappeared, leaving her with an illegitimate child…
Life hadn’t been easy, but still Anna managed to squeeze advantages out of most situations. She never left a restaurant without a handful of toothpicks or a wedding without a large bag of leftovers. The greatest lesson she taught her daughter was how to sneak into the movies for free. Other people’s junk were the precious bricks from which to build her own fortress against the injustices of the world.
Anna is Taiwan’s very own Blanche DuBois, brought to life by Hua Bo-Rong’s direct, earthy, yet charming prose style. Whatever Anna Wants is a down-to-earth entertaining read, refreshing in its lack of pretention.