But Sug, you haven’t been about your book review life lately. So, I just finished (actually about 2 month ago) reading The Hundred Secret Senses: A Novel by Amy Tan. But Sug, why did you pick this book? Well, I’ve had this book for a while.
Actually, I picked this book up in 1995. I laughed when I saw my maiden name in the book! HA! I tried to read this book back in the day, but I guess I wasn’t about this Amy Tan life back then. Anywho, before I get into my review of The Hundred Secret Senses, here are some of my favorite lines.
- “I was the only one who did jumping jacks like a gung-ho recruit, in part because I was ecstatic to learn that Kwan would be in addition to me, not instead of.” -Chapter 1
- “Kwan hung the cage with the grasshopper, now missing one leg.” -Chapter 1
- “They’re both retired and live in Missouri.” said Ben. “Misery! Tst! Tst!” She [Kwan] looks at me. “This too sad.’” -Chapter 1
- “‘Now everything is Mary this and that!-Old St. Mary’s, Mary’s Help, Mary Mother of God, forgive me my sins. I’m glad she got a promotion.”” Chapter 3
- “His eyes were shiny, speedy, his words spilled out with abandon.” -Chapter 6
- “Ever since her facelift, my mother has been wearing progressively more outrageous clothes.” -Chapter 9
- “When he first started working there, Kwan didn’t notice the 4 in the store’s name, and even with reminders she still calls it Foodless.” -Chapter 10
- “Every word, every gesture is now loaded with ambiguity, nothing can be taken at face value. We speak to each other from a safe distance, pretending all the years we soaped each other’s backs and pissed in front of each other never happened.” -Chapter 10
- “You can’t stop people from hoping for a better life.” -Chapter 14
There were many more lines, however, if I included them, it would spoil the book for those who have not read it. But Sug, what is the book about? Quit simply, The Hundred Secret Senses explores the relationship between two sisters. Kwan, who is the quirky, superstitious, forgiving, older, Chinese born sister and Olivia, who is the STIFF and judgmental Chinese American sister.
Can’t you tell that I don’t like Olivia.
But Sug, what about the review? While reading The Hundred Secret Senses, I followed along pretty easily UNTIL I got to chapter 4. That’s when Tan decided to switch the character’s point of view AND the year. I was like, “whose voice is this and what year is it?” It took me a minute to grasp where the book was going, but once I got it….I WAS HOOKED! The chapters were beautifully written and Tan was able to vividly use words to take the reader along. I especially enjoyed when the sisters were in China.
Between the two sisters, I REALLY enjoyed Kwan. She was likeable and her character was enduring. Tan was able to illustrate their cultural differences, which often resulted in conflict, between the two sisters. Now Olivia on the other hand,…I. Could. Not. Stand. Her! She was rigid and mean. I know this book is a work of fiction, but I was ready to jump through the pages and dummy smack her!
I finished reading the book on the 25th of November and I still think about the characters. There aren’t too many books that have that effect on me. I even cried a bit. There were some areas of the book that I thought were predictable but was surprised when it went in another direction. There were, however, some things that I figured out. I even had to put down my inner gangsta and fight the air. Smh Overall, I give this book a low “A.” I thoroughly enjoyed it.
That’s it. Thanks for listening. :D