Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Review [The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts]

You have seen them all your life, the little old Chinese men and women, and the only thing you wonder most times is can they speak English or how funny they speak English. Maxine Hong Kingston, 38 years ago, masterfully put aside all the wondering of what goes on in the private lives of those quiet little children in school, those little women who take your dirty clothes and give them back clean, those who prepare your rice at lunch time and those who came from the country with the Great Wall. Take an intimate look in the lives of the Chinese in their home land and after their migration to the "Green Mountain", America. "Poverty hurt, and that was their first reason for leaving." This style of honesty brings out the human compassion in the reader with ease.

Maxine Hong Kingston interweaves the connections of time by spanning generations and decades from times of village justice for the spiritual imbalances of fornication.  "Some man had commanded her to lie with him and be his secret evil. His demand must have surprised, then terrified her. She obeyed him; she always did as she was told. The villagers punished her for acting as if she could have a private life, secret and apart from them. Adultery, perhaps only a mistake during good times, became a crime when the village needed food."

Chinese folk like most indigenous people for millennium aligned themselves with nature and those natural alliances have grounded the foundations of family allegiances. A people of the earth depends on nature and reciprocates the life giving forces provided to them. "...nature certainly works differently on mountains than in valleys. The first thing you have to learn is how to be quiet. If you're noisy, you'll make the deer go without water."

Overall the short story format of The Woman Warrior makes it an easy read and helps you get through the slow parts of the book, because you know the sways in interest won't last long. However, the literary stimulation peeks at many points in the book. If you want to learn how to fly, climb high mountains, talk to the animals and transform yourself into the spirits of time or learn the formula to live forever, your senses will never be bored, because these too will take you through each story with anticipation.

Dr. Akua Gray
Accra, Ghana

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