Seeking a better life for herself and her daughter, Lisa, Jian Ping left China in 1986 to pursue graduate studies
in the U.S. She left behind her parents, former senior government officials, but not the memory of their shattered lives. Jian's daughter, Lisa, joined her in Queens, New York when the girl was four-and-a-half. They moved to Chicago, where Jian joined corporate America, eventually becoming the national director of Tsingtao Beer. Lisa's childhood was the reverse of her mother's, growing up as an utterly unencumbered American girl; living in suburban Chicago Lisa earned a great education, built a successful public relations career and learned to enjoy the best parts of life: good friends, worldwide travel and partying. However, both mother and daughter felt an ever-widening breach in their relationship. The more Jian longed for a closer relationship and for Lisa to know her family roots, the further she pulled away, culminating in Lisa's disinterest in Jian's memoir, which had taken her eight years to write.