Famous for her 1997 memoir Falling Leaves: Return to their Roots, this writer and medical doctor also penned a second bestselling autobiographical work, Chinese Cinderella: The Secret Story of an Unwanted Daughter (1999), which details the abuse she suffered as a child.
She left her native China in the early 1950s to attend the London Hospital Medical School and subsequently opened a medical practice in the United States.
Falling leaves details her love for the only family members who cared for her well-being: Aunt Baba (her father's sister) and Ye Ye (her great aunt). Her other literary works include the young adult novel Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society (2003) and the Chinese philosophy-themed work Watching the Tree (2001).
She and her siblings Lydia, Gregory, Edgar, and James are the children of Joseph Yen and Ren Yong-ping. With her first husband, Byron Bai-lun Soon, Mah has a son named Roger. Her second marriage, to Robert A. Mah, produced a daughter named Ann.
She and fellow Chinese memoirist Ji-li Jiang published their popular debut works just one year apart.