This was a very disturbing book that I couldn't put down. I admit, I live in a bubble. There is so much that is ugly that I try not to think about or know in the world. I don't think I will forget this haunting book for a long while.
I never thought much about foot binding in the Chinese Culture long ago during the 19th Century. This book takes you through it from a young girls perspective and her mother and cultures view. I didn't understand so I googled foot binding and the images that came up were unforgettable. All the toes break and the foot is broken and bend down under and bound. Then you only walk on your big toe and heal, if you can walk at all. Your foot is no longer then 3 inches to be perfect. YIKES!
But what if you lived in the time when this was social acceptable in your traditional society? What if it meant your future to have Lily feet? Would you bind your daughters feet and put her through years and a lifetime of pain? Yes I think I would. Is it not any different then wearing a corset or getting your babies ears pierced or even stretching your neck in the African culture. It was a sign of beauty and endurance and it prepared a young girl to be submissive to her husband and a good faithful hard working wife. YIKES I can't believe I am saying this! BUT then it was to survive and be no longer worthless to everyone.
Okay the book wasn't all about foot binding...there are a lot of other horrible and beautiful things in a Young Chinese girls life. The book was inspired because of a secret women's writing called nu shu. Very fascinating and very clever.
There are two girls in the story that become laotong or "old same", which is an emotional women friendship that lasts forever. They share many wonderful things in life and also the saddest things. They are friends before their arranged marriages and through motherhood and loneliness and even after death. One girl has it all and the other, well I don't want to give away the story but the parts from her life I hope to never see or ever have to endure such horrid things.
The book take you on a journey of love. Not the love you think though. "mother love" is part pain and part love, friendship is another kind of love, husband love is another and the book takes on other loves that I never thought of before and can't even explain. I always thought love was love.
This was a Broken book and Healing book. I cried when as I read it. I would recommend it though just so you aren't stuck in your little bubble like me.