Woman Warrior

Kingston, Maxine Hong. Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. Everyman’s Library, 1976.

Reason read: California became a state in September. Woman Warrior was also published in September.

Kingston is a master at weaving first, second, and third voices into a memoir filled with anicient Chinese folklore and cautionary tales about womanhood. I felt a lot of sadness in Woman Warrior. The tragedy starts early in as Kingston describes her mother, a former Chinese doctor, telling a horrifying tale about an aunt giving birth to a sexless child in a pigsty and then committing suicide with that baby; drowning together in a well. There was such shame in this pregnancy, “To save her inseminator’s name she gave a silent birth” (p 14). So much contradiction in culture! There is a crime to being born female and yet there is the story of the fierce woman warrior, the legend of the female avenger. My favorite parts were when Kingston addresses the difference between American-feminine and Chinese-feminine.

Quotes to quote, “No one supports me at the expense of his own adventure” (p 50),

Author fact: I could have read this book in honor of Kingston being born in October.

Book trivia: Woman Warrior won the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction.

Nancy said: Pearl did not say anything about Woman Warrior except to say that it was published before The Joy Luck Club but didn’t captivate the world like Tan did.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Asian American Experience (p 26).