Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Review: The Woman Warrior
by Maxine Hong Kingston

I don’t know much about mytho-biography, but I get the sense that Maxine Hong Kingston wrote the flagship of the genre. The Woman Warrior has all the mystery, wonder, and torment of an ancient myth, while being rooted in her own life. She successfully conveys a sense of what it must be like to be a first generation American of any background, finding themselves in between two cultures, having allegiances to both though struggling with reconciling the conflicts that arise. Growing up in San Francisco, going to both American public and Chinese cultural schools, and working in the family laundry, the author draws heavily on the influence of her mother’s “talk-stories” (tall tales), which gives the book its mythological feel. This book is a fascinating look into the convergence of two major cultures happening in one person.
Review by Wendell 'Scutopus' Edwards