A Novel by Lisa See
What I know about the Chinese zodiac, I learned from Fruits Basket. Other than that, I don't know much about China, and even sadder than that, Chinese Americans, and what they dealt with coming into American, and their treatment during the spread of Communism in China. This book was really educational to me, and I look forward to reading more of See's work in the future. In some ways this book was different. In others, it was sort of obvious what was going to happen. Not too predictable, but predictable none the less. There are some upsets, followed by several tragedies. Through all this though there is a lasting idea of hope.
Tradition and modernity and simple sibling rivalry, have a lot to do with this story. The two main protagonists, the sisters, Pearl Chin and May Chin, eldest and youngest, respectively, fight to decide what they believe in, and what they want. Now, when it first started off, they can seem like pretty pampered princesses. That may be the case to some, yes, they are spoiled, but they are still just like children, inexperienced and growing. They aren’t that young, 21 and 18, but I still consider that to be a very difficult age. They are being meant with all the pressures from society; associates, friends, and having to deal with the expectations of family. (I had no idea that they were that strict. I have to admit I like the way they honor their elders and ancestors, but my feminist side wants to jump out, so I’ll leave it at that.) While they are fighting tradition and trying to hold to their modern beliefs, they began to fight one another. Eventually, they come to accept what is, and try to move pass past hurts. It takes them over a decade to get there.
Depending on the way you look at it. You could say after reading this that everyone is in charge of there own destiny, and you can't just sit back and choose to be a victim of the past. You can’t blame things on fate. Only you are in control. Can’t control everything, but you are in control of your life.
Note: My opening line might have been a little off, but if you read the book you’ll see why I mentioned it.