Friday, March 24, 2006
In a nutshell: This book is about a working mom in England who tries to keep her life in balance by keeping her high-powered job while also being a busy mom. She narrates how she navigates work travel and school schedules, volunteering for school activities and keeping up with the boys club at work, and keeping her marriage and children happy. At times funny and stressful and poignant, its a wild ride.
My Take: This book had a mixed reception from my friends. Some people found it to be a little too close to our own crazy lives and with little hope for resolution. The people that felt this book too stressful and hopeless never finished it. But I will say, if you stay with it, there is resolution for the main character. And really, the resolution was what worked for her. I think every working mom, in the end, needs to find what balance works for her. And sometimes, that balance means having to give up a little something to get something back. I personally liked the funny, poignant ways in which I could relate to this main character's life. I felt not hopeless or depressed, but relieved that I was not alone in the struggle to keep it all together. I liked it. It was a fun read.
Friday, March 10, 2006
In a Nutshell: This book is at the heart of it about a friendship between two women. As these two girls grow up and get married to men in different classes their lives diverge. But, they keep in touch by using a fan with a secret "women's only" written language written on it to communicate. This secret language is the only gender-based written language to have been found in the world. It came about because the women in China were held under such repression that this was a natural way to communicate and have creative freedom with other women. Throughout this story is a tapestry of ancient Chinese culture of castes, foot binding and matchmaking rituals.
My Take: I enjoyed this book, but my friends have given me mixed reviews. A few people thought that it was a feeble attempt to be like Memoires of a Geisha. I did not agree. This book was very different. It is based on the only known secret female language created by women, for women, found in a certain region in China. Wrapped in this language is this story of two friends and how they communicate with their trial and tribulations throughout life in turn of the century China. And in many ways the foot binding process and the repression of women are very much aligned in meaning for these women in China. It is a great read.