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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.