Adeline Yen Mah was seen as bad luck to the family as her mother died aftergiving birth to her. She is always frowned upon by her older and younger siblings, neglected byher father and scolded by her stepmother. She has to learn to depend on herself as there wasoften no one to help her. The story reveals the two sides of her family: on the surface it isfriendly and caring, while inside one can realize how the children are really treated by theirstepmother Niang. As the youngest of five children from her father's first marriage, Adeline hasto suffer many blows because every one looks down on her especially when she receives herfather's praise. Adeline's main reason for her love of school was to be away from her stepmotherso that she could become a different person that was admired by her peers as she topped her classregularly. Her whole personality changed when she was away from her Niang and with someonethat knew her from the heart; her friend Wu Chung-Mei, her Ye Ye and Aunt Baba.
At age eight, Adeline was given a duckling, the only one left after all her siblings hadpicked their choice. Although it was not the best duckling, she still loved it dearly and treasuredevery opportunity that she could get with it. She named it Precious Little Duckling (PLT). I thinkthis illustrates her love for her pet and that she was pleased that her siblings had left her one. Italso gives a comparison of how each sibling is treated by their parents. Since she was theyoungest and the least likely to make a fuss, her big brother took her duckling when her fatherordered him to test the obedience training of his dog Jackie. Adeline immediately sensed herduckling's fate; she knew that PLT was going to die.