Book Review | The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

teaAuthour:
Lisa See
Format:
ARC, 365 pages
Publication date:
March 21st 2017
Publisher:
Scribner
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Although I’ve heard of Lisa See through her well-known book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan which was also adapted into a film. However, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane serves as my introduction to her writing and perhaps given its setting it was fitting that I started reading it around the time of Lunar New Year this year.

Centering on the Akha ethnic-minority who live in the Chinese province of Yunnan, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a story about family, especially the complicated relationships between mother and daughter in addition to being a story about love, tragedy and of course tea, in this case Pu’er:Pu’erh tea.

What I loved about The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane was the gorgeous and poetic prose throughout the book. The first two parts of the book focus primarily on the protagonist, Li-Yan’s early life, difficulties and tragedies while the later parts introduce us to the daughter she gave up through various ways such as through the transcripts of a therapy group to emails, letters and reports. That being the case, I do wish Hayley’s story was given more space to be fleshed out as I truly adored her character and it’s rare to read the stories and experiences of Chinese children who are adopted by American parents.

For those who are familiar with Lisa See’s work, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane will undoubtedly prove to be an enjoyable addition to their reading repertoire. As for those who haven’t read anything by her or who haven’t heard of Lisa See before, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane makes for a decent introduction to her books.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

Authour:opplone
Marina Keegan
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 208 pages
Publication date:
April 8th 2014
Publisher:
Scribner
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness. but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.”

You may have heard of Marina Keegan if you’ve read or stumbled upon her essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” which was published in The Yale Daily New. I loved that essay so much as it was so poignant and well written in addition to resonating with much of what I was feeling as I prepared to graduate and move onto the next step in my life. It was that piece of writing that inspired me to pick up this collection of essays and short stories written by her. Unfortunately Marina died in a car accident in 2012 so this is probably the only collection we’ll get of her writing.

The collection starts with her famous essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness” which I think those of us who are students would find relatable. The rest of the collection is then divided into two sections, “Fiction” which consists of her short stories and “Non-Fiction” which are her essays. I went in more excited to read her essays, but in the end, I actually enjoyed her short stories much more although I did find her non-fiction writing to be extremely compelling, honest and at times heartbreaking. My favourite one was “Song for the Special”, a piece which I thought was the perfect choice to send this wonderful collection. As for her short stories, they were simple yet had much depth within them; I especially enjoyed the first short story titled, “Cold Pastoral”. This story, though initially seemed like a typical story about a woman grieving the death of her boyfriend turns out to be a much more complicated look at human relationships and love. All in all, this was an interesting collection of both fiction and non-fiction writing that I think is worth checking out.

If you like this book, you’ll love: So Much A Part of You by Polly Dugan

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.