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on 8 August 2007
This book is about the growth of a Chinese girl in America, whose development from girlhood to womanhood is shaped by the stories and voices of her female forebears -- her mother, aunts, and historical and legendary Chinese figures such as Fa Mu Lan and Ts'ai Yen (anyone who's familiar with the original Fa Mu Lan story might find Kingston's version confusing though). The book is no ordinary autobiography as Kingston imaginatively mixes autobiographical details with fictional and imaginative elements to portray her unique experience of growing up as a Chinese American girl/woman. The writer's intention to articulate a voice amid a double-marginalised situation (both racially and sexually) is evident and the book is an essential read for anyone interested in Chinese American literature.
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on 29 November 2011
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, was published in 1975 and is a memoir of Kingston's experiences growing up in the United States as a Chinese-American. Because Kingston's experiences are also infused with Chinese folklore and elements of non-fiction, The Woman Warrior is not your typically standard memoir.

The book is divided into five parts which mostly contain stories about the narrators family life and the cultural differences between her parents (who were born in China) and their children (first generation Americans.)

I did struggle with the first couple of stories in this book and in particular the second chapter which was titled 'The White Tiger'. It took me a while to get used to the narration which seemed to change quite suddenly from the past to the present and I had trouble getting a sense of the characters that were introduced. The White Tiger told the story of a Chinese legend (from reading it I would say this sounded like Mulan but I could be wrong) of a female warrior who takes her fathers place during battle. I struggled with this section of the book and it just seemed out of place within the family stories, I'm afraid I couldn't really see why this chapter was in there but this could be because of ignorance on my part.

The last three stories I loved. Perhaps I had gotten used to the writing style or perhaps its because the stories started to focus on her families experiences as imigrants, but I found the last three chapters flowed and I found them interesting and highly enjoyable. It interested me that the narrator is torn between Chinese culture and the culture that she was born into. Although she is torn between the two cultures, she tries to embrace both which sometimes bring her into conflict with her parents.

While there are some funny moments in the book there are also shocking moments as the narrator relays stories about the treatment of girls in China as told to her by her mother. Her mother is quite a prominent character in most of the stories and her story of how she came to America from China and what life was like back in China is often referred back to throughout.
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on 22 July 2015
I took a while to get into this autobiography but enjoyed the Chinese influence on an American immigrant. Living with the Ghost Stories that seemed very real. Given time I will read some of the other books in this series.
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on 19 September 2009
Despite being half Chinese myself and having shelves of Chinese literature, I have now twice tried to get through this book and twice failed. She tells dark stories told to her by her mother and relates them to her life - long convoluted fairy stories of Mu Lan and half-told stories of her dead aunt. Half-way through there is little of her modern-day life at all, thought this is supposed to be autobiographicial, although glancing further on in the book there seems at least to be more.

This book has won several awards, and Time even called it "one of the books of the decade", but I think this is because it was written at a time (1977) when there was precious little writing coming out of or about China, and also about the experience of being a Chinese immigrant. Now we have a slew of writers both iin China and outside, writing about the Chinese-American experience and the stories of how tough it was to be a girl in China.
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on 30 January 2001
A wonder to behold. This book mixes the autobiographical genre with myth and fantasy, everyday language with elegant prose, humor and tragedy. And perhaps the most amazing thing about it is that for all its assessable literary qualities, The Woman Warrior is a poignant personal story that will touch most readers and stay with them for a long time.
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I read this years ago and it has haunted me ever since. It is beautifully written. Fascinating insight into being an "alien"
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on 22 August 2014
what fast service-received 2 days later, good quality item
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on 16 September 2014
excellent
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