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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Rituals of Death



rkubie wrote:
I love how heated this discussion has grown, and how relevant to issues of our own time, but I DO hope we don't get critical of each other's reading styles. These response styles may be more a part of our temperments as readers, and not symptoms of our civic participation!

I also found I was much more accepting and openly curious about traditions that seemed so totally alien to me, and my emotional responses to the novel were, in many ways, more personal and sympathetic to the characters in their circumstances. For example, I was heartbroken at Peony's death, but as much as I was shocked and horrified at her "exposure," I was also saddened by the tragedy of the crossed up love story (which, I'm afraid, is not a very feminist response!)

As an aside, it is interesting that, as late as our own times, we still have such trouble coming to terms with the traditional work of women--do we see it as degrading? As a trap? Is it still a part of the "inner chamber?" How do we answer to how necessary those caretaking tasks are in daily life?




You said somewhere on these posts that you understood where Vivco was cominig from because of the things she posted or the way she looked upon things. Is that the difference in women? Is it true, we can't see beyond the rose-colored fog. if we were basically treated fine through life, good childhood, good marriage and so forth, we can not see the fight in those that didn't have that rose colored life. Can't we as women have emotional feelings for all women. Some are not treated even half as good as others. Can't we feel for them? By taking arms against injustice for them if not for yourselves. Maybe at a later date, a daughrter, granddaughter might need your sympony and then you would be willing to lend an ear to this conversation. Alot has been done for women's rights and respectabllity but still the memories should always be provoked when you see injustices even those of the past. They can come back to haunt us and they can be repeated.
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seagate
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Rituals of Death

Perhaps you overlooked my wording "EXTREME Womae's lib".I was not putting down the entire movement but just emphasizing how some flaunt it to excuse their own selfishness. So much of what you said is true and no one could disagree. We/ve come a long way and some way to go yet. Since respect is earned not freely given, it is a rocky road especially when the "role models" for the young aren't doing such a great job of it today. The women writers in Peony In Love were great emancipaters as were the women in Snow Flower with the nu shu writings passed from one to another.They kept their dignity as they were striving to advance.
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Wrighty
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freedom


kiakar wrote:


seagate wrote:
.When I read that part of the question I took it that the moderator was acting as the devil's advocate trying to stir up a little action.That is really a good way to get things rolling and doubt very much if she herself found women's role degrading today. As part of the older generation , though I find that through the extreme Women's Lib . we have lost a lot of dignity and respect. We are now equal to men? Heck I always considered myself a step above them! Why would we want to lower ourselves? Glad not too many guys are in on this discussion.




Why Seagate; if men are in this discussion they would love it that you consider the women's lib a terrible mistake. The thing is, its very simple, freedom to do what you feel you can do. If you can work a job that a man can work, same amount of work, would you like to get a hundred dollars a week difference less than that man. I have done it for many years when I was younger. It was not fun, seeing two people do the same thing, same smarts and one gets more for being a male Doesn't that feel wrong?
And why can a man set limitations on a women who needs to work but becomes pregnant and then he demands she leave the job when she is 6mts pregnant. That happened to me when I was supporting one daughter alone and pregnant with another. And unemployment didnt pay that much. Welfare was really unheard of then unless you wanted to place your children in foster care if you couldnt take care of them. Is that fair? When I was able to work until I was 9 mts. Strenous exercise we have found is good while being pregnant but for goodness sakes I worked in a insurance office typing up polices in the back of the office. Some of us are able to physically do as men. If we like that sort of work, we need to have the freedom to do it. The Military needs to stay volunteer becaise of people's different ways of belief into this. So anyone who wants to service military men or women should serve. And if it has to become drafting as a statist then physical strength tests and others would have to be given. Men have advantages of women's libs rights also. They can take maturity leave, they can get child support. Alot of avantages are out there. And the only reason men donot like it, is because they have to give up alittle of that reigning as a king that has domaining power over women whether right or wrong in others eyes. That is what makes commonist and dicttatorships possible. Having control over others are and can be a man's downfall.



Kiakar, I understand what Seagate is saying here. It's not that "women's lib is a terrible mistake" it's the extreme belief that it should be all or nothing. (Please correct me if I'm wrong Seagate) I think so far we've all agreed how important it is for women to have the same freedoms and opportunities as men. I've stated what I'm most grateful for is the freedom to choose. I don't want to be told what my roles are. I think what is dangerous is the idea that we can do what we want so we HAVE to do it. That we should all be out there in our power suits running big corporations and smoking cigars with the good ole' boys. In effect, that we have to become men because that's women's lib. This is part of where we lose dignity and respect. Some have forced their way in without earning it. We shouldn't be perceived as "want to be" men who pushed their way to the top stepping on other qualified men. We deserve to receive a position if we've earned it with our own qualities and accomplishments while still being the person we are, regardless of being man or woman. And that position should be in any field we chose - business, politics, raising a family, self employed, farmer, scientist, writer, you name it!
Does all of this make sense or did I make it way more confusing?? :smileysurprised:
Basically, we're all on the same side and be careful what you wish for. And by the way, we are a step above! :smileyvery-happy:
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LisaSee
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Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Rituals of Death



kiakar wrote:
I know I would have lived a very short life if I had to take this crap. Before women and men made the same salary for doing the same job, I griped and campaigned for the same. Before women could work as long as they wre able while they were pregnant, I griped and *I campaigned. If we let things go, where is respect for the women ever going to go. I was venting about what happened in China back then, we need to vent out our past angers then do something about it. I am glad it affects me this way! So we can make progress toward being the respectful person we ought to always have been.




There aren't many places in the world where women are paid equal pay for equal work...
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LisaSee
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Re: Rituals of Death



Wrighty wrote:

rkubie wrote:
I love how heated this discussion has grown, and how relevant to issues of our own time, but I DO hope we don't get critical of each other's reading styles. These response styles may be more a part of our temperments as readers, and not symptoms of our civic participation!



I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this but I don't think anyone was being critical at all. I know I didn't intend anything that way and I didn't see others as critical. As Vivico said, this book is about a sensitive subject and it brings out strong feelings. Peony lived in a time and place where women had little worth and challenging that was an uphill battle. This was a topic I knew very little about so I appreciate Lisa and her book and the discussions we've had. Thank goodness we've had strong women in our past that have enabled us to have our freedoms today.





I have to agree with the readers here too. What's the point of writing a book and having people read it if there is no response? We should think about our own lives, as well as the lives of the characters in the boos -- whichever book it is. For me, as a reader, what I love about books is reading about characters -- whether real or imagined -- and then thinking about my own life and the human condition. This discussion is exactly what books are for. And while there may be differeing opinions, I think everyone has been respectful.
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LisaSee
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Re: Rituals of Death



vivico1 wrote:

seagate wrote:
"traditional work of women today--is it degrading-- a trap?"

Serving meals, driving the kids, cleanng the bathroom !!!! I don't see it as degrading nor a trap if done out of love. So many husbands share the duties with their wives today and if one is a single Mom or a single woman these traditional duties are carried out without a second thought along with the untraditional ones we are allowed in this generation. I think the problem too often is an individual's selfishness takes the form of " woman's rights". When one does any action out of love for another,it is never demeaning.


I agree with you totally. Like I said before, its most often women who put down other women who chose to stay in the home (WORKING) instead of outside work. BOTH are work! I don't see these even as "traditional" duties, but just flat duties of life which have been "traditionally" done by women. One sec, I got to go back and find that original question because to say is it a trap or degrading, I find the question degrading. Let me see if I read it right, not your response Seagate, I agree with you.

Ok, this was the question, it seems I was so stuck on the stuff right before it, I didn't even response to this.

"As an aside, it is interesting that, as late as our own times, we still have such trouble coming to terms with the traditional work of women--do we see it as degrading? As a trap? Is it still a part of the "inner chamber?" How do we answer to how necessary those caretaking tasks are in daily life?"

Like I said, WHO has "trouble coming to terms with the 'traditional work of women'"??? I would underline or highlight that traditional work of women part but I dont know how you guys do that :smileywink: Anyway WHO in here is having trouble with this?? Man, don't include me or anyone I know in that "we still have trouble" part either. I can tell you tho, it isn't men who have a problem, its other women who would even ask such a thing. That is what we were saying before on one of the threads. Its like, men may DEFINE the roles of women in a society but in all actuality, its the women who ENFORCE the roles. Its why we can change them too. There is a whole discussion on here somewhere about women's roles in the home and out and not putting down Peony's mother for the important work she does as a mother in the home but also praise the women too who went out (like the writers) and tried to change things in their own way. Nothing a person of either gender, but as we are talking about women here, nothing a woman does that enriches, teaches, uplifts and shows love to another, be it children or husbands or mothers or friends, is EVER degrading. I know why I passed by this part of the question now. So suffice it to say, I agree with you Seagate and so I wont rehash this one again. I dont have trouble with work "traditionally done by women", I have a problem with women calling this "the traditional work of women". You may find this nit picking, but there is a big difference to me and to ask another woman, do we see this as degrading? NO, do you?? Ok,I will stop here, should have when I hadnt answered it but when I saw it again as you replied to so well Seagate, it got me going again. :smileywink:




My two cents: What Vivico said here is very intersting to me -- men define the roles and women enforce them. Women are so hard on other women. So often it's my way or the highway. I don't watch Oprah, but when I was on book tour I found myself in a hotel room one day watching her show. It pitted stay at home moms against working moms. I use the word pitted deliberately, because it was such a fight, with each side feeling superior to the other side. It really made me sick...and mad. As women, we shouldn't be ganging up on each other this way, especially not moms. It's hard enough to be a mom without other moms picking on your for one reason or another. We're in this together! (I might add that Oprah was positively dumbfounded and didn't say a word throughout the whole thing.)
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vivico1
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Re: Rituals of Death

I have to say, I am glad to see the discussions we are having here and I agree with you all on some points. I think we all do. Kiakar, I think your right about men and women needing to be equal partners in the home, not just the cleaning aspects but the family dynamics, traditions and raising the children. Seagate, I know what you mean about "extreme women's lib". It is what I meant when I said, women can go so far the other way,that WE are the ones putting down the women who are at home, not men,like Lisa said about the women on the Oprah show. Hey, I dont consider myself a "women's libber" at all. Mainly because of this, women then attack other women for the choices they make that are not their own. I am just a woman who is seeking all the best things out of live that is there for me to be had and if I have to speak out to get the opportunities, I will, but at the same time, I will fight for any woman's right to stay home! Frankly, its probably harder work than I could have done anyway lol, so my life took a different route. Wrighty you see the things there too and also you talked about we are not disrespecting each other in here. And Lisa, thank you so much for speaking up for us as readers discussing these things in an honest way:

LisaSee wrote:
I have to agree with the readers here too. What's the point of writing a book and having people read it if there is no response? We should think about our own lives, as well as the lives of the characters in the boos -- whichever book it is. For me, as a reader, what I love about books is reading about characters -- whether real or imagined -- and then thinking about my own life and the human condition. This discussion is exactly what books are for. And while there may be differeing opinions, I think everyone has been respectful.

I guess the biggest thing I have wanted to say was two fold, first the part about men define womens roles and women enforce them, it is true, like Lisa said watching Oprah will show you it is and she's (Lisa) is right) Ladies, we are in this together and we are a bigger force than we really understand when we hang onto and support each other as women, as sisters, as all the things we can be together. Second, is the ideas I talked about in the thread on mother love, and sister love etc. These are the two big things I get from this book and I see in our lives and these are the two things that really mean something. If we take the idea of mother love and all that goes with it, for one another, then we can change WHO defines women's roles WHILE we enforce them. Women are incredible creatures. Such brilliance and such sympathy, empathy and compassion. But we get caught up in the darker side of "oneupmanship" and for what? To impress men? Or are we so tired of being told what we should do and be, that we are going home and kicking the dog? Are we taking out on each other the very thing we hate about what is gnawing at us because of what is being done to us? We dont need to be better than each other, or more right. We just need to love each other more and use all the collective skills of women to uplift each other and when women come along with vision and strength that maybe is different than ours, like the women writers of China during this time, we dont need to put them down or feel less than around them either. All we need to do is use the other kinds of strengths we have to support them, they may be doing something wonderful for us, but they might need our shoulders to stand on, and cry on. I really am in love with our gender and all that being a woman means and no woman is more or less important than another. We have gifts, amazing gifts,all of us. We just need to share them with one another, not act as children whose "gift" is better than the other kids.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Rituals of Death


kiakar wrote:


Fozzie wrote:

vivico1 wrote:

Fozzie wrote:


I did not find myself caught up in feelings about the way women were treated. I take the time and place of a novel as a given, so to speak. Whether we modern people like it or not, that is the way things were. I found myself caught up in the emotions of the characters: Peony’s despair, Ren’s melancholy, Peony’s mother’s remorse, and Peony’s father’s almost indifference.




Fozzie, I find this very interesting. This is a novel, but how the women were treated was real. You could feel for the characters feelings (which is easy to do with even mythical creatures in novels and such) but you are through part II of the book and truely have had no feelings about the way women were treated, just because ...thats the way things were? I mean, there are great characters in this book that take you along with them but where they go is defined by how they were treated as women. You had no feelings about this? Not even the truth of the cataclysm?



I didn't say I had no feelings about how women were treated and what they were expected to do during the Cataclysm, I said I didn't get caught up in them. There is a big difference. To me, reading this book is about learning and understanding how things were in China 300 years ago. I cannot judge any of these characters with my 21st century views on the equality of men and women and the 21st century expectations of how relationships should be between men and women. Of course some things are surprising, and even shocking, but having read Lisa's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, as well as The Good Earth, many of the attitudes about women were known to me. The Cataclysm is new, as are the death rituals. However, in trying to understand the society of the time, I find myself not comparing them to me, but comparing them to no one.




Laura, it seems to me that is why women for so many centuries lived as a lowlife or animal, because people would not get emotional about what wss being done to them. They like you, looked upon it as happening in other generations so why not let it happenn to me. I am so glad so many did not think like this. Because I know I would have lived a very short life if I had to take this crap. Before women and men made the same salary for doing the same job, I griped and campaigned for the same. Before women could work as long as they wre able while they were pregnant, I griped and *I campaigned. If we let things go, where is respect for the women ever going to go. I was venting about what happened in China back then, we need to vent out our past angers then do something about it. I am glad it affects me this way! So we can make progress toward being the respectful person we ought to always have been.



Different people feel different levels of emotion, and express different levels of emotion. To me, emotional response is not directly correlated to action. Individuals who are more analytical may take in information, research things, and then act. Individuals who are more emotional may let their emotions drive their actions. There could be flaws in both approaches. The analytical person may not act soon enough, the emotional person may act too soon, both may act in the wrong way, etc. Just because I did not get caught up in the emotions doesn't mean I didn't feel anything, didn't process the infomation, didn't think about women today versus then, women in China then versus other parts of the world then, etc. Clearly I am not as an emotional person as many of you, but that doesn't make me a wooden figure either or hinder my ability to empathize with the women in the book.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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vivico1
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Re: Rituals of Death

Laura,
I dont think anyone meant to attack how you feel about what you read. If it came off that way, I apologize, but I think what is the problem here is with the word "emotional". I think, for myself in asking you anyway ok, I didn't mean, didn't it get you all hysterical and stuff. I don't want the word "emotional" to take on some bad connotation or how men can mean it when they call us emotional, they often dont mean it as caring, they mean it as, shes hormonal, dont take what she says seriously. Hormonal bugs me too actually LOL, like men dont have hormones or all hormones have to do with emotions. My thyroid would beg to differ :smileywink:. I think I was surprised tho that as a woman reading about women, you didnt feel at points, appalled, angered at what you read, even if you knew this stuff before and I did know about the binding and stuff before, the afterlife was totally new to me. And dont get me wrong, I understand about the analytical side. I think personally, to evoke change, both emotions and intellect must be involved. You must be moved by something, engrossed by something, even outraged at times by something to then move towards a good analytical approach to, how do we solve this now. Nothing gets solved in a highly charged emotional mindset because as you say, one may act too soon or without thought. But I guess, what I am saying is, I can not look at what happens to these women,even after death and not really feel something deep inside and so it surprised me that you didn't, to you use your words "get caught up" in it. It wasnt meant as a judgment of your feelings Laura, and NO, I dont think you are some wooden figure with no feelings either girl! I just dont think you are Spock either, or hope not lol :smileywink: .
Its not a lot different for me than as I mentioned once about reading about the holocaust, reading about the camps and not getting emotional about it. I cant look back at the history of what some people went through or what they do today and only do it in an analytical way. We are more than historical things of interest, we are all humans, some often not being treated as such, and that moves me deeply. I quite frankly think of myself an analytical person. Science is my forte and give me a problem and even if I am just appalled by it, I will think about it for some time in practical ways of how do we solve this, or what does this mean to me, to others and what do I take from this that I can learn to use in life. For me

For me, this book a story, based on real women, meant not just to tell me a great story but to really let me in on something I didnt know, to get inside another culture and another woman's plight, to make me think hard about not only what was happening to them but how does this show in us now, how far have we come as women or have we. It really is about gut feelings to me because, for me ok, these things dont change or will get put back on the shelf, if we dont just let our emotions hit us and then let them out. These talks about our feelings to me is great because its the first part of thinking differently, just flat feeling. Did you by any chance read the book, THE ROAD, that was offered in here a few months ago and won the Nobel Prize for fiction? Its a post apocalyptic novel and while you know there can be no happy ending, it is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Its not just a really awesome and at times really frightening sci-fi story, its about hope, and faith and such immense love. That is the one book I have read in a long time that just had me sobbing in the end, literally sobbing and I dont do that with books, cry sometimes yes, sob no. And to hear the men say the same thing, and that everyone was so shook by that book for days or weeks after was incredible. Most said it made them think about the real things in their own lives and whats important and whats not and it just really shook them. It should have made you feel that way, if it was just a good sci-fi, it missed its mark with some.

I have not thought in a long time about women's rights or how women are treated, then or now in a real emotional way, one to make me think about what is going on today, good or bad. This book did that for me. I really liked the story, even tho I really had to get past the fact that some of the afterlife beliefs really went against my grain, but I also posted a lot that some of those beliefs are not so terribly different than some of Christianity. But whether it was in this life or the afterlife, it did make me get caught up in the idea of these women's "place" in the world and how angry that made me. Actually I learned this more from the parts that take place in the afterlife or how they interacted with us, than I did the first part of the book, so even if i dont believe the same, as a woman, it still made me FEEL the same.

Laura, I will tell you this, what I said to you, was nothing more than if we were all sitting around in some coffee shop discussing this book. Face to face you know there would be some of us looking at others going REALLY??? You think that? or you got that from there?? lol, and it wouldnt be meant as anything more than the really good sometimes heated discussion that it is in here. But thats the beauty of clubs, that we can do that and still enjoy each others company and opinions. I surely don't question your ability to empathize or see you as someone with no feelings. I was in the coffee shop with you sitting across the table saying, you didnt feel anything??? What?? and you would have gotten to explain yourself in REAL TIME and me too. :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Wordsmith
Fozzie
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Re: Rituals of Death

Vivian, without re-quoting your whole post, I do hear what you are saying. My goal is to make myself understood, and I think you do understand what I was saying.

On the new items you mentioned in your post...

I have read quite a few books on the Holocaust, some more emotional than others. One of my favorites is Leeway Cottage. I found that story to be very powerful. Also, I have been to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and found it to be an unbelievably moving experience.

I have read The Road. That book gave me a lot to think about. The juxtaposition of violence and love in the story was jarring.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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vivico1
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Re: Rituals of Death


Fozzie wrote:
Vivian, without re-quoting your whole post, I do hear what you are saying. My goal is to make myself understood, and I think you do understand what I was saying.

On the new items you mentioned in your post...

I have read quite a few books on the Holocaust, some more emotional than others. One of my favorites is Leeway Cottage. I found that story to be very powerful. Also, I have been to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and found it to be an unbelievably moving experience.

I have read The Road. That book gave me a lot to think about. The juxtaposition of violence and love in the story was jarring.


Going to Anne Franks house has got to be a moving experience. I would love to go overseas and chase down some places of history be they sad or inspiring or just darn interesting! I think I got hooked on some of the holocaust books, tho I may not now be able to remember some of the authors, from reading Man's Search for Meaning, but Victor Frankl, I think it was, in high school. I was amazed at what those men had to do, would do in the camps to survive. I couldnt blame one of them for anything they did and remember wondering what I would do. It just kind of bloomed from there, books and movies. Then I ran across that book The Rape of Nanking and thought, where was this in our history books at ALL! Maybe because of my childhood, I am drawn to books about people surviving, or living, under horrible situations. Survivors interest me alot.

Oh that reminds me of a book I was going to ask Lisa about if she had read, or anyone in here. I saw this absolutely beautiful older Chinese woman on something like the Today show a decade ago talking about a book she wrote. She was an amazing woman and I went out and bought the book, the first one on this type of subject for me. Her name is Nien Cheng and her book was Life and Death in Shanghai. Its about the cultural revolution in China in the mid 60s, she was 51 then and the widow of a former Kuomintang diplomat. She gets arrested, detained and winds up being detained during all this upheaval for SEVEN years!! Its is an incredible story of a woman's survival in China during this time. That she lived was phenomenal and her story speaks to all women but all people too. I got to go back and read this book again, now that I am the age she was when this happened to her. Have any of you read this book? Lisa, have you read this?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
LisaSee
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Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Rituals of Death



vivico1 wrote:
Oh that reminds me of a book I was going to ask Lisa about if she had read, or anyone in here. I saw this absolutely beautiful older Chinese woman on something like the Today show a decade ago talking about a book she wrote. She was an amazing woman and I went out and bought the book, the first one on this type of subject for me. Her name is Nien Cheng and her book was Life and Death in Shanghai. Its about the cultural revolution in China in the mid 60s, she was 51 then and the widow of a former Kuomintang diplomat. She gets arrested, detained and winds up being detained during all this upheaval for SEVEN years!! Its is an incredible story of a woman's survival in China during this time. That she lived was phenomenal and her story speaks to all women but all people too. I got to go back and read this book again, now that I am the age she was when this happened to her. Have any of you read this book? Lisa, have you read this?




Yes, I've read that book. It's truly amazing! Nien Cheng was so fiesty and brave. She fought back no matter what they did to her. And she survived.
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