Peony In Love Summary
Peony In Love By Lisa See, it’s the second or maybe the third Lisa See’s books I read, She is one of my favorite authors. I still remember the book “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” I read, I was so impressed by her writing style and the knowledge about Chinese cultures and histories. When I read her first book, I thought she must be a Chinese lady, but when I saw her pictures, I was so surprised that she is a White lady with blond hair.
Why this book
I have been reading a lot of non-fiction books last year, feel like my mind is becoming so analytical and too logical, need to balance it out, and add some feminine and romance back to my life, so I went to library searching for a romance book, and then I saw this book “Peony In Love”. Since Lisa is one of my favorite authors, the name of the book gave me a romantic feeling, and also my heritage background, I picked this book along with other books.
Overview of the Story
Peony is a girl born from a wealthy family in 17th century of China, around her 16th birthday, her father puts on a opera play “The Peony Pavilion” on his estate. During the play, she sees a boy for the first time, and then they secretly meet each other in the garden three times in three nights, she cannot control her thoughts. As a girl, she’s not even allowed to be seen with any males other than those in her own family. Unfortunately, she’s already in a arranged marriage with a boy from other family. She starts obsessively reading and writing commentary about “The Peony Pavilion”, begins unknowingly starving herself, until the last breath before she died, she finally knows the boy she will marry to is the same boy she is in love with, but it’s too late.
She is dead, but she’s unprepared to deal with the consequences and is remorseful that she never found love. In the afterworld, she becomes a hungry ghost because her family didn’t dot her tablet, and she will never become an ancestor, because she is an unmarried daughter. As she meanders her journey, Peony finally learns what is needed for her to move beyond the “roaming state” and into her new existence as no longer alive.
What I like about this book
What I like the most is how detailed and precisely described regarding Chinese cultures and histories. She must have a whole team of crews working with her to research those. As a Chinese, I am 100% sure that she knows Chinese cultures and histories much more than me and also more than the most Chinese I know.
Her writing style is very romantic, intense, and beautiful. The girl in her book is so young, but she has such intense emotions and imaginations, which is incredible.
What I don’t like about this book
I don’t like the story of the book before she died. Peony was mooning like a lovesick girl who knew not enough of the world and it was all just a little overmuch for me. I am at the point almost giving up the book until the story developed differently, she died at 16 and the rest book was about her afterworld life.
As a Female and Chinese who read a lot of history books, I do feel a strong connection with her writing, It makes me appreciate more about our today’s life. I can’t imagine how the girls went through foot binding and stayed inside the realm all their life missing out the beautiful world from outside; I can’t imagine how they feel as girl “ignorance is blessing”, being smart and intelligence are actually the worst thing a girl can have.
All the sacrifices women made for men, the cultural expectations and limitations etc are just horrible and awful from today’s standards. A hundred years ago, the life of women is not even worth than salt. I am so glad I am born at today’s world.
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