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The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood…

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1975)

by Maxine Hong Kingston

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,002571,927 (3.78)102
Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity.
  1. 20
    The Ballad of Mulan by Song Nan Zhang (bertilak)
  2. 00
    The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: The first widely read Asian American book written by a woman, blending memoir, fiction and legend.
  3. 00
    Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong (Imprinted)
  4. 00
    The Opposite of Fate: a book of musings by Amy Tan (cransell)
    cransell: Another memoir by a Chinese-American woman. Both are very good.

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» See also 102 mentions

English (55)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
This was the August PBS/NYT Now Read This selection. It’s been hailed for 40 years as a classic of Chinese-American memoir literature. It’s also been highly criticized.

It’s a different sort of memoir. The author combines the story of her childhood in a Chinese-American neighborhood with her mother’s stories of China and Chinese folktales.

Kingston was never quite sure which of her mother’s stories were true and which were merely supposed to be morally instructive. And so, it’s memoir with a strong dose of what her mother called ‘talk-story’: and combines fiction with non-fiction.

It’s a story of strong women in a world not always kind to women. She relates the tale of Fa Mu Lan, the Chinese folk heroine who donned men’s clothes and fought in battle. She tells the story of her mother, a medical doctor in China, who having joined her husband in the United States, slaved night and day in the family Chinese laundry. Not all the women warriors win; some lose; some give up and settle in the place they have arrived.

But it’s a story of how author Maxine Hong Kinston became the person she is. And that’s the best kind of memoir. ( )
  streamsong | Sep 11, 2019 |
The first book in the PBS book club that I am reading. First read 40 some odd years ago. Don't know if I truly liked it or just read it yo be in the know/cool.

I doubt I finished this in '76/'77. I had to plow my way through parts of it. The mother, Brave Orcard, story was too disjointed. Parts of it cruel, parts very funny, parts too screwy, parts too much the bully. I felt squeamish at times.

I've read tons books focusing on Chinese culture. Since this was a memoir verses fiction, though as memoir thus is in a league of its own, I prefer the fiction. ( )
  Alphawoman | Aug 12, 2019 |
Ghosts abound in Maxine Hong Kingston's memoir-in-novellas, The Woman Warrior. The term is used not only the supernatural embodiments of the unhappy dead, but also for foreigners of all kinds. There are white ghosts, black ghosts and Mexican ghosts, also teacher ghosts and delivery ghosts. There are even wino ghosts. Against this haunted backdrop, Chinese immigrants in California, most notably the author's indomitable mother Brave Orchid, struggle to come to terms with a new land with its strange language and incomprehensible customs.

I had read this book as an undergraduate for a class and didn't really understand it at that time, even though some of its vivid imagery has lingered in my mind (I now know where Ocean Vuong, author of the recent book On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous, may have gotten some of his ideas). I thought that now I would be better equipped to enjoy this book, but I found it difficult upon a second reading as well. This book is not straightforward reading, and I was disappointed that I didn't like it more than I did. ( )
  akblanchard | Aug 10, 2019 |
I read this on the recommendation of my dear cousin Wally when I was 9 months pregant and sitting in a large, empty, silent house in Kumasi, Ghana, waiting to deliver. I started the opening chapter and put it away until AFTER the baby was born. I loved the book and the richness it added to my perception of what it means to be immigrant and to be a woman. Its images have stayed with me all these years. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Read this in college. It was interesting book but not one I would reread. ( )
  KamGeb | Mar 9, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kingston, Maxine HongAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evenari, Gail K.Author photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guo, XiaoluIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lai, Chi-YeeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sann, JohnCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Mother and Father
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"You must not tell anyone," my mother said, "what I am about to tell you."
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