This protagonist, presumed to be the real author, Adeline Yen Mah, was young when her mother died, and was raised under the dubious care of her widowed father and his new wife, an abusive, cold woman.
The patriarch of the family and Adeline's biological father. In this novel, he is shown as an aloof, neglectful person with resentment and regret that overwhelm him, causing him to be a bad parent.
The vicious, troubled step-mother whose tendencies to mistreat her daughter spill over onto Adeline. The two are never really on good terms.
The friendly, kind relative who involves herself in Adeline's life to make sure Adeline knows the power of good, ethical relationships, since Adeline is left without love or an example to follow.
Niang's biological daughter, who tends to be abused more physically and openly because she is not Niang's step-daughter, but her biological daughter.
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