For the love of books

Book Review: Sophia of Silicon Valley

There is no other genre of books I crave than a buzzing young professional’s story. Sophia of Silicon Valley satisfied this craving to the fullest being the powerful, roller-coaster ride of a story about a young businesswoman.

Anna Yen has carefully crafted the Young family, who is an immigrant family in California, living the American dream after Mr. Young’s hard work building his businesses from scratch. Sophia has grown up in the US and is no less than any other young girl in Silicon Valley who has the qualities and qualifications to make it big. However, the good old Asian value system has been instilled in her so she wants nothing more than a good, stable husband and a ‘normal’ family once she is settled in her jobs.

Yen deals with this complicated aspect of Asian immigrant families with immense tact, balancing the narrative of Sophia and her parents. Never condescending towards traditional mindsets but also not glorifying where it is ridiculous. Haven’t we all been there as Asian women, kicking ass at work yet coming home to questions about marriage? In fact, Sophia’s choice of workplace and approval from her mom depends on the availability of eligible bachelors in her field.

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The treatment of this complex inner battle and external relations with parents is successful in evoking both, sympathy and judgement for the Young family. Why can’t they just let their daughter be? However, the chinks in Sophia’s armor revealed throughout the book reveal that she is treated specially, a little differently in her family. She is the weak youngling of the Young family always shielded and protected from the world, and raised to be in the care of a doting husband just as she is doted upon by her father.

Given this, Yen creates an impressive career growth narrative for Sophia in the novel that can make any young adult envious. I sure was! Sophia is not only good at her job but she is great with people, with the most difficult and big people of Silicon Valley. (Hint: Steve Jobs and Elon Musk-inspired bosses) It is her do or die attitude and Asian grit that makes her survive and thrive in the biggest and baddest world of tech companies that are so hot these days.

In Sophia’s own words: ” I’m only twenty-six years old. I’m not sure how it happened. Actually, I know exactly how it happened. Unreasonable immigrant parents, a life is short attitude, and a mouth I can’t seem to fully control. I’ve been trained since birth to get what I want; now I use this “skill” to get my bosses whatever they want. I’ve made it into the inner circle.”

Overall, Yen writes an inspiring novel with a mixed bag of emotions presented to the readers at the same time. You will happily join Sophia on this roller coaster of emotions as she experiences success, failures, disappointments and joy along her career path and personal life.

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