Tuesday, August 12, 2003

same ole story

a colleague recently loaned me a whole stack of books. written by various asian writers.

the one i'm reading now is The Girl From Purple Mountain by May-lee Chai and Winberg Chai

it's your typical chinese-american exploration of family ancestry and in turn, learning more about oneself tale.

similar perhaps to the most famous of all chinese-american authors, amy tan.

but barely half as entertaining, and that's saying a lot as i'm not a fan of tan. (couldn't resist)

anyway, the thing is this family actually has a pretty interesting history. one of the ancestors (the grandma i think) was one of the few women to attend a university (at that time and in china too!) and she also got a masters in something in the US.

but the way the story is told is mighty confusing.

there is an explanation in the introduction. that the story is told from both may-lee and her father winberg's points of view. but these points of view do tend to jump a little here and there like in one chapter which is told mostly by winberg and at the end, there seems to be an anecdote tacked on, by may-lee.

the story is mostly of winberg's mother (may-lee's grandma) and their journey across the seas to the US.

the story on the whole is interesting, but badly written.

i just feel like it's the selling of your soul, the marketing of your family history, milking it for all its worth. but no use lah. i've never heard of the book!

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