How Legend can help you understand cultural identity.

Summary:

Maxine Hong Kingston contrasts her life growing up in California with the stories of her mother’s upbringing in China. Various legends – such as The Ballad of Fa Mulan – are woven into the autobiography as a means of  aiding Kingston’s growing understanding of her ancestors’ history.

BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
The book’s prose is very lyrical. Each chapter illustrates continuous themes about being a female in a male-dominated society and the struggles of the immigrant experience. Kingston superbly captures the identity crisis she is going through as an identified Chinese American. Each legend she mentions plays a big part in her own life, inviting the reader to draw parallels along with her.

Overall, the book successfully conveys an essential message about cultural understanding, feminism, and the importance of family. I think it is one of the most profound books on the Chinese American experience and contains many classic legends which can lead to a better cultural understanding of imperialist China. The Woman Warrior is appropriate for anybody age 14 and older.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers will find the writing and parallel stories about a mother and her daughter fascinating and engaging. If you are looking for feminist literature, this is an excellent book.

Content Awareness Factors:

A couple of shocking moments occur, such as a woman committing suicide by jumping into a well with her baby and another woman being stoned to death.


Type of Book:
This is an autobiography that parallels the author's life growing up in the United States with that of her mother, who grew up in imperialist China.
Reading Level:
5.7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
14 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. This is a really good book, but not one you'd re-read unless you were studying Chinese culture, the immigrant experience, of feminism.

Title The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
Author Maxine Hong Kingston
Publisher Vintage Books, Imprint Knopf Doubleday © 1989 (Reissue Edition)
ISBN 9780679721888
Material Paperback
Cost $15.95
Genres Biography, Life Lessons, Asia | Asian People
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