Born in Chinatown, New York, N.D. Chan was sent to China by her mother after her father was murdered in a random street shooting. She lived with her grandparents in Gaungzhou, until her mother sent for them after she married a dentist and became a wealthy and successful businesswoman. Life should have been happy in the privileged enclave of Long Island, but her mother was too busy to give her daughter the kind of loving attention that would have created a sense of security and normalcy. And yet, she expresses her admiration for her mother’s resilience.
Saved as Draft: Stories of Self-Discovery Through Letters and Notes
is N. D. Chan’s brave and searing collection of observations about the shifting world she inhabits as a Chinese-American woman. It is a search for a sense of “rightness” and a place called home despite being uprooted. Chan tries to fit in at school and is ridiculed by the children who see her as different. At sixteen, she legally changes her name and begins an intimate relationship with another girl in secret. She describes it as “feeling so right” until one day, she is left feeling betrayed. She moves to California with her family and strikes up an eight year romance that eventually makes her feel stifled and unfulfilled. In a graceful poem she writes to her ex-lover:
I don’t doubt for a moment That your wish will come true Someday you’ll find
The one who loves you.
Fortunately, for Chan she found that person, and the courage to accept herself even in her darkest and most rebellious hours.