Teresa LeYung Ryan's, Love Made of Heart, is a stirring look at the intricacies of familial relationships, including mental illness and abuse, that for Ruby Lin, the narrator, have taken the bright, clear color from her world as she struggles to grow up as an American girl drowning in a sea of distinctly Asian values.
Although the intricacies of the mother-daughter bond are the overall theme of this heartfelt story, there is a convoluted push and pull in Ruby's psyche as she clashes with her father, her Chinese husband, and in-laws, while leaning heavily on the powerful goodness and understanding she discovers in her sister and an adopted Jewish grandmother who has become her beacon in this violent coming of age saga.
LeYung Ryan has Ruby slowly awaken through self-reflection to a universal truth as she works over time with her psychologist. Dr. Thatcher encourages her to unravel the conflicts and mysteries within by speaking with a clarity that resonated with Ruby (as it does for all of us), "Your mother wears a pair of funny glasses which have been tinted by her personal experiences. They're her special glasses to view and cope with the world."
So, you see, this story goes beyond the confines of culture and speaks to both the dark and the light sides of love at work in the very heart of all human relationships.