2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The best bits are the blank spaces.,
This review is from: The Tao of Women (Paperback)
I am willing to bet good money that the product description here is misleading/confusing to many people thinking of buying this book.
'The Tao of Women' comprises a collection of 81 seemingly newly-minted verses penned by Pamela Metz and Jacqueline Tobin. Each verse is tied to a nu-shu character and the English translation of that character is given, however the verse accompanying these is a new work. I am pretty sure this is the case because some of the verses reference things which would not have been widely known about (if at all) in China at the time they were written e.g greco-roman mythology in v.35. To give them credit, the authors make clear in the introduction that the nu-shu stuff only arrived about half way through them writing the book and the bibliography references a wide variety of feminist and taoist books which would hardly have been required if this had been a simple translation of Chinese literature.
That aside, the book feels as if the contents had been built on uneasy foundations. I cannot expect it to speak to me in the way that the Tao Te Ching spoke to me, but much of what is written here comes across as contrived and patronizing; I felt it failed to recognize the diversity of issues which have always faced women and concentrated too much on parenthood which is in no way just a female 'problem'. Other relationships (romantic or familial) were never really dealt with; the main focus is on rather general 'advice' for the journey of life. Each double page spread has a verse on one side and a blank space for your own thoughts on the other. I resisted the urge to scrawl 'hackneyed tripe' in them all.
Throughout the book women are encouraged to be submissive and 'gentle', even in response to discrimination. I know that taoism often encourages us to bend, rather than break but in doing so it urges us to find routes around conflict and conquer problems as a stream would 'conquer' a rock in it's centre, with the emphasis being more on defence than attack. I would not recommend this book to anybody; it feels unfocused, unprofessional and uneasy.