Sweet Like Jasmine: Finding Identity in a Culture of Loneliness by Bonnie Gray is a poignant memoir about overcoming a difficult past.
I picked up this book on a whim, even though I’d never heard of Bonnie Gray. As it turns out, this is a memoir unlike any I’ve read before. It’s hard for me to write this book review, because this is such a personal story the author is sharing about her life.
In this book, Gray tells a poignant story about her difficult upbringing and search for her identity. The daughter of Chinese parents, she grew up with an abusive mother and the absence of a father she knew very little about. In vivid detail, she describes her childhood and early adulthood. Gray has endured a lot, including a sexual assault in college. Fortunately, she’s been able to overcome the past with help from therapy, friends from church, and her unwavering faith in God. This is a heartbreaking and inspirational story I’m glad I stumbled upon.
What surprised me about this book, is that it’s much more than just a memoir. It’s also a self-help book. Through her story, Gray hopes to help others who might be or have been in similar abusive situations. Through Letters To My Younger Self and Reflection Questions at the end of each chapter, the author offers advice and direction.
If you’re interested in this book as a memoir, I recommend the audiobook because it’s narrated by the author herself. If you’re interested in its self-help aspect, I think a print copy would be best so you’ll be able to use the Reflection Questions at the end of each chapter.