June 25, 2011

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran

Title:  The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices
Author:  Xinran
Format:  PB
Pages:  241
Genre:  Non-fiction
Publisher:  Anchor, 2003
ISBN-13:  978-1400030804
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  When you walk into your memories, you are opening a door to the past; the road within has many branches, and the route is different every time.

Synopsis (Amazon):  When Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to “open up” China took root in the late 1980s, Xinran recognized an invaluable opportunity. As an employee for the state radio system, she had long wanted to help improve the lives of Chinese women. But when she was given clearance to host a radio call-in show, she barely anticipated the enthusiasm it would quickly generate. Operating within the constraints imposed by government censors, “Words on the Night Breeze” sparked a tremendous outpouring, and the hours of tape on her answering machines were soon filled every night. Whether angry or muted, posing questions or simply relating experiences, these anonymous women bore witness to decades of civil strife, and of halting attempts at self-understanding in a painfully restrictive society. In this collection, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Xinran brings us the stories that affected her most, and offers a graphically detailed, altogether unprecedented work of oral history.

Review:  Asia has always intrigued me.  It seems like such a strange and beautiful part of the world.  The lives of the women in this book are strange, but not very beautiful.  The thought that people still live in such poverty and with such lack of choices seems almost impossible.  I wonder if these stories could even be true.  They seem so awful and sad.  They also inspired and touched me.

As an American woman I found it hard to understand how anyone would allow themselves to be treated the way most of these women do.  Still, it broke my heart and made me thankful for the life I do have.

This is really a quick read.  I didn't have a lot of reading time this week, so it took longer than it should have.  The author's writing style is intimate and concise.  I enjoyed it.

Rating:  6 / 10

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