August 4, 2011

Read All About It! Peony in Love

My rating: 3.5/5

This Summer my "Teaching World Literature" class had us pick an Eastern country we are not familiar with to choose six books from to read. India was my first choice, but because someone else chose it, I went with my second choice, China. Admittedly I did not finish Peony in Love by Lisa See in time, but I did read the classic Chinese opera it often referred to, The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu, so I felt comfortable enough with the project to not stress over that tiny detail. Well, I made up for it by reading it after the semester's end.

I've read one other work by See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (now a movie - go watch!). While I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan I felt that Peony in Love was a story with great potential that was somewhat lacking. 

The story starts off great, it made me shout "I knew it! You stupid girl! You could have been with the man you loved!!" So I felt very involved and eager to see what could possibly happen after the protagonist, Peony, dies. Don't worry, her death is just the beginning so this is not a spoiler. Later Peony becomes a ghost after her soul is split in three and tells how she watches over her loved ones as she tries to find herself through her writings and family history. Overall I was left feeling like the book was meant more to guide people through learning Chinese practices and women's literary history than having its own intent. This being said, it was eye-opening and just learning about the detailed history, practices, and beliefs made the book a page-turner. I didn't want to put it down at times. This was a good Summer read that I read before going to bed every night. Not challenging, but culturally informative.

Topics in the book: mother-daughter & father-daughter ties, arranged marriages, foot-binding, ghosts, anorexia, historical women's literary movements, Chinese customs, Chinese history

The book I am currently reading and that will be up next for review is The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. No, I never read it in high school and I get the feeling it's part of the literary canon. Anyone read it for school?

Este verano mi clase de "Literatura del mundo" hico escoger un país del desconosido y escojer seis libros de ahi. India era mi primera opción, pero otra persona lo escojio y fui con mi segunda opción, China. No terminé Peony in Love de Lisa See en tiempo, pero sí leí la ópera clásica china a que se refiere a menudo, el The Peony Pavilion de Tang Xianzu, así que me sentí cómoda con el proyecto. Bueno, después del final del semestre fue que leí el libro.
He leído solo otro trabajo de See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (es una película ahora). Aunque me encantó Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, sentí que Peony in Love era una historia con un gran potencial pero que le faltaba algo.
La historia empiesa siendo buenisima, me hizo gritar "¡Lo sabía! Estúpida! Podrías haber estado con el hombre que amas!" Así que me sentí muy involucrada y con ganas de ver lo que podría pasar después de que la protagonista, Peony, muere. No se preocupen, su muerte es sólo el principio. Despues Peony se convierte en un fantasma, cuenta cómo ayuda a su familia, y trata encontrarse a sí misma a través de sus escritos y su historia familiar. En general me dejo sintiendo que el libro era más para ensenllar sobre las prácticas de China y de su historia literaria de mujeres. Todo esto en mente, todavia me abrió los ojos y no pude sorta el libro. Este fue un buen libro para el verano que leía antes de ir a dormir todas las noches.
Temas en el libro: relaciones madre-hija y padre-hija, los matrimonios arreglado,  los fantasmas, la anorexia, los movimientos de mujeres históricas de la literatura, las costumbres chinas, la historia de China

El libro que estoy leyendo ahora es El Hombre Invisible de HG Wells.


asian icandy store said...

Great review! Thanks. :)

Rachel said...

Glad you liked it!!

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