Yes, that’s right. You didn’t misread the dates on these two blogs. I finished Schindler’s list and immediately picked up The Woman Warrior and finished it in two days. It was captivating and much easier to read.
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts is written by Maxine Hong Kingston, a Chinese-American born in the United States. Throughout the story, the author gives narration and main characters to women. The men have very little role in her life as she perceived it. The women in her life, mainly her mother, were the ones to tell her that she was useless and would not amount to anything. No matter what the daughter does to prove her worth it is never enough because she is inherantly flawed in their eyes. It is curious that the women who were so prejudiced would continue the cycle of devaluing their daughters. Kingston grows up between two cultures; the Chinese culture telling her she must be a wife and bears sons or die; and the American culture showing her glimpses of little white girls in fancy dresses being openly cherished by their parents. Living both but not being part of either world, the author grew up frustrated and unable to find her own voice until much later.
The book is a very personal account of her early life and the people in it. Her mother is the foremost mentioned character in the book, beside herself, and throughout the story it is revealed how the author both looked up to her mother and also resented her. Kingston talks about how her mother would tell her “talk-story” but would often start off with ‘this is a true story’ but only parts would be true. The author grows up not quite sure of what is real and what is not. She also inserts herself into fantasy stories, such as the warrior swordswoman Fa Mulan who was treated and respected as a man would be. She trained in the fashion of a young man, then led armies as a general. At the same time she became a wife and bore a son in the midst of battle.
I liked this book immensely. The author uses vivid imagery and fluid terms. I couldn’t put the book down. It is quite apparent to the reader that this is a deeply personal account, a confession if you will. I almost felt as if I was peeking into someone’s private journal and maybe I shouldn’t be reading it. She betrays her mother’s trust by telling the whole world things she was told never to tell anyone. This book was very different from any style of book I have read. A very interesting memoir.