Saturday, February 20, 2010

Canada Reads Review: The Jade Peony

This was by far the most disappointing of the Canada Reads books for me.

I read Wayson Choy's All That Matters a few months ago just after reading Lisa See's Shanghai Girls. Both of those books are set during the same time period (1930-40s) as The Jade Peony-and I liked All That Matters because it was from a Chinese-Canadian perspective rather than Chinese-American.

My problem with the Jade Peony is that it is too similar to All that Matters. The Jade Peony is told from the perspective of the three youngest siblings in the family, while All That Matters-which came out after-is from the eldest sibling's perspective. I usually enjoy reading books that have the same or some of the same characters, but I felt like I already knew all of the stories in the Jade Peony, and whose perspective it came from in large part didn't matter. I realize that this isn't exactly the book's fault that I read it's sequel first-but since that is what happened, I was disappointed.

The only character that really struck a chord with me, was Sek-Lung or Sekky. I found it really interesting to read about how badly he wanted to go to school, how difficult he found learning Chinese, and how he seemed to be the most "caught in the middle" of all his siblings between the new and the old ways because of his relationship with Grandmama/Poh-Poh. I also found it particularly interesting that he referred to her as Grandmama and not Poh-Poh, considering she was so intent on "the old ways".

Well this was the last of the books I needed to read of the Canada Reads books!! Hurray I did it!!

So what was my favorite book? Good to a Fault 100%.
My least favorite book? Nikolski
My pick for the winner ....hmmm... probably Good to a Fault but I'll have to think about that one a little bit more.

Now I get to join in the discussions on the Roughing It In The Books: Canada Reads Challenge!!

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