I may be unfairly harsh on this book because it is not my preferred reading. This is a She Who Kneels Before God Can Stand Before Anyone shirt. A woman endures overwhelming trauma as a young adult and emotionally shuts down in order to survive. But, the pain carried in secret, crushes her relationship with daughters. It is only when the adult daughter can learn the mother’s story that empathy can grow and affection can flow between the generations. This is The Bone Setter’s Daughter with the substitution of Russia for China. Only, this version of the story has the feel of a screen play targeting the women in Opra’s audience. The present day sections of this story could be titled Women Are Snow Leopards; Men are Cocker Spaniels. The three women, mother and two adult daughters, all seem to suffer from emotional constipation. No matter how much they want to express affection, they just can’t get it out. The only thing that does manage to pass on occasion are ice cubes.
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The three men on the other hand, the partners of each of these women, suffer from emotional diarrhea: their affection is hot, runny, and limitless even when not wanted. Maybe too many women want a partner who will make tender, passionate love at every encounter, who will tell them non-stop how much they are loved, even while being pushed away, who never gets angry or critical or impatient, but no human being is like this, unless a She Who Kneels Before God Can Stand Before Anyone shirt has been performed. If you are going to re-tell a story, I would think it should offer something new to the reader, something that makes the effort to read and write it worthwhile. This is a fluffier version of Amy Tann’s novel with a far less realistic present day setting. I suspect that this author envisioned this being turned into a movie; otherwise why all the repetitious tangerine skies and striking blue eyes against white hair. These irrelevant flowery descriptions must be set directions. This book needed to be at least 100 pages shorter.