During October I haven’t posted book review post since I wasn’t lucky enough to find good ones. During November I stocked up so many books to read during November and December. The books I have read in November have similar themes of woman journey through life, which I started to enjoy reading so much. So without further due, I hope you enjoy this post.
The secret life of bees – Sue Monk Kidd
The story revolves around Lily, a fourteen years old girl from South Carolina. She tells her story, how she vaguely remembers one day when she accidently killed her mother. Now she lives with her not-so-loving father and her dark skinned nanny Rosaline. Her story follows her adventure with Rosaline, when one day they have decided (due to their unstable circumstances) to leave home and go on a journey to search about the life her mother once lived.
The story is beautiful, it’s told from a child perspective. How, with all the jumble that happens in her life, she tried to walk on, and look for her mother through the lives she has touched before. The story is told in the 1960’s, back when inequality between colors was not established yet. I liked Lilies character. I felt that through the books I have traveled through her emotions. It definitely spoke about strong woman’s who shaped their lives by themselves and for themselves.
The Education of Dixie Dupree – Donna Everhart
This book follows the similar story telling style as “the secret life of bees”, telling it from an eleven years old girl perspective, who had the habit of lying. Dixie started taking lying more seriously to cover up her family issue from other people. She had one place where she could speak truth to, which was her diary. She writes down her parents fight, her father’s unusual drinking habits, his sudden leave and the arrival of Uncle Ray, who takes her life to rough turn.
When I picked this book, I never knew it was deep. I thought it was about a girl who had a bad habit of lying. But it wasn’t only that. It talks about really sensitive and precious relationship, which is between Dixie and her mother, which slowly unfolds during the story. The main issue that Dixie goes through is when she gets physically abused from her mother due to her breakdown, and her unable to control her emotions, and later when she gets sexually abused by Uncle Ray. It’s such a sensitive, sad and breathtaking story. At first, I didn’t like Dixie, but through the situations she does through, she starts to learn about the secrets her mother carried for 14 years, which makes her understand why were she acting the way she did.
The book carries a heavy message, and it’s delivered through Dixie’s perspective. its not an easy book to read in one shot (I was alternating with another book at the same time) due to the issue its carrying, but I defiantly recommend it.
Snow Flower and the secret fan – Lisa See
The story of this book takes place back in the 19th century in China. In the time when girls bounded feet can determine their whole life. Lily is from poor-farmer’s family, who has been told that since her feet were perfectly bounded, she will carry a better life for her and her family. And so she was also paired with a Laotong, an old same, Snow flower (which can be looked as a friendship between two girls that would last a life-time).
The book is divided into three parts, which carried the life of both Lily and Snow flower through their childhood, enduring the agony of foot binding, their life as young brides, and as older woman.
The book carried the relationship between two women. Both carrying expectation, and discipline through their life. I loved how educational it was regarding Chinese tradition of foot binding, and the role woman carry. It sad how woman at that time was nothing but to obey her father as a child, her husband as a wife, and her son as a widow. Throughout the book, you learn how little a woman had a say at that time, how suppressed she was. And sadly, until now woman are still treated the same way. The book is so beautifully narrated, and it carries the tale of strong woman.
Shanghai Girls – Lisa See
This book follows the story of two sisters from Shanghai, Pearl (the elder sister) and May. The story picks up during the 1937, when both sisters were having a fabulous career as “beautiful girls”, whom artist paint their pictures for advertisements. All until their fathers gamble all their money, which leads him to marry them off to Chines American men, looking for Shanghainese girls.
The story nurture the bitter-sweet relationship of sisters. Pearl and May went through so much hardship until they made their way to America. And even when they reached, they both planting their feet into the ground to the unfamiliar country. The book follows their story from their carefree, modern life, to their life as married woman, to mothers raising their children in America.
What I loved about the story, along with the beautiful way of storytelling, is the amount of insight it gives about the Chinese people who fled to America during Second Sino-Japanese War. About their hardships and how difficult it was for them to fled their country and to go to another place where they were expecting a glorious living (personally did not have any knowledge about this war, so I really felt that the book was educating it).
Note: the book has two parts, “Shanghai Girls” and “Dreams of Joy” which follows the life of Joy, Peals daughter.
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Thank you for reading