Monday, February 03, 2020

The Favorite Daughter

This story was very interesting. I thought the character of Jane was way out there. As I read it was believable that Jane felt all these things that she was saying about her family. I kept trying to find out how her behavior came about. Why she would think this of her family treating her the way she said. From the beginning I knew Jane was obsessed with death. When she was looking out at neighbor, the little boy playing dangerously (or so she says) knowing that "child is about to die". From than on it was all about her and how her husband and daughter treated her. Hmm... interesting to the point that both her husband David, and daughter Betsy was scared of her. Leads me to wonder whatever happened to her other daughter Mary.

Up until chapter 23 I wasn't feeling sorry for Jane. But I started to question where is this story taking me through Jane. I thought, Oh No! the characters around her, including David and Betsy were playing a part to actually make her tell the truth. Like the move Shutter Island. Than I thought no the ending is going to play out fast. Bam! we will know what happened to Mary, the end. 
But not bad how it all lead up to what happened to Mary. For sure there were others who knew certain things and played out nicely. I actually didn't think of what Jane was til end.

Jane Harris is not much different in her mind of what is a perfect life. Her mind was a powerful tool to lead her to believe of everything she did was for the better to protect her family. Her life a perfect routine. And when that routine is disrupted is when it goes wonky.

I don't think Jane had a favorite daughter. It's a part of what she is. Jane would play both girls. Whoever sizes up with her yardstick and she felt at the time was her favorite. For Mary she was Jane's favorite because Mary was gone. It was agreed the Jane would be her mother. For all purposes Betsy was her favorite when Jane focused attention on her. But when Betsy didn't do what Jane wanted than Betsy was stupid, not as graceful as Mary.

Again in Jane's mind she really wanted to become a better mother. With Mary gone she knows something is not right. And again she needs routine .

I don't think Elizabeth James was going to steal Mary from Jane. Mary found out about her biological mother and wanted to know more about her. And with the tension that Mary and Jane had to begin with Mary found peace with Elizabeth. Than things took off from there. Why shouldn't Elizabeth James know and offer to Mary?

I believe society does have this picture of what an ideal mother is. And yes Jane keeping up the facade of being this ideal mother in which (Jane believed) covered the true self of Jane.
No it wasn't hard for me to imagine a mother who isn't what she seems. In a whole we as mothers do seem to have to live up to this idea that we need to be perfect. Our children are our blood, our extensions of ourselves. But we falter. Including me. My daughter at some point made me believe I was this awful mother. That I punished myself. Now that she has children everything is coming back to her, and i wasn't so bad after all.

I think Betsy is like Jane in some way. But what she was doing was protecting herself. What she thinks is right was from what her mother thought of her. Jane really had her on a rollercoaster . Betsy couldn't leave her guard down. But I believe Betsy to have a happy life needs help professionally.

I do in a way feel sorry for Jane. Her reality was a play in her head. She thought all men loved her, she thought she could do no wrong. Jane did mention quite a bit about her acting.

Now that is a tough question about Kylie. Did she deserve what she got? In the end the question was never answered . It was just said that Jane better be right about Kylie. And since Jane the way she was, I believe she was telling the truth and yes Kylie deserved it. She shouldn't been messing around anyway with another women's husband.

I think David liked the thrill of the feeling of a new woman that he can conquer and impress. Even before the weirdness of Jane he was on the hunt. Which is not impressive at all. I think he is just a waste of time.

The behavior of Jane I heard, read about but never thought of a name for it. Narcissist, yes so that's what it is. Jane the protector. Protecting so much that she intruded in her daughter's lives as well as her husband making them hate her. I guess being a narcissist that sadly they make what is good, horrible.
A mind is so powerful the tricks it can play. 
And I will be looking forward to the author's next book.

I give The Favorite Daughter 5 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I had mixed feelings about this book. I did like it. Very interesting about the culture. I agree with some reviews on the toughest thing to read is about the girls how their foot binding proceeds. Man that's tough!

Lily who is the narrator I believe her strengths were that she knew of the rules for a Chinese woman to abide by and did what was expected. She would think what she would have to do and do it. But on the other hand I believe the same was her weakness. Lily believed what she heard. She wanted to be loved, especially by her mother. So when someone paid attention like her "old same", she believed everything she was told. And that was forever.

I think there is a concept of "old sames". Women have been good friends for many years. Some will be there for each other, thick and thin. What I notice is that todays girls know more info on each others SO's than when I was young. It wouldn't take a second for them to get involved to make sure their friend has a back to lean on. No friend would be alone.
For me I never had a "old same" or a part of being a "sworn sister". I just wasn't that lucky. I wish I did maybe I wouldn't feel so alone at times.

I think Lily tells her story to Snow Flower so Lily feels less guilty about the way she treated Snow Flower toward the end. But I do believe the two did love each other. Certainly  Snow Flower excepted her fate because of her father. And Lily understanding Snow Flower would be there for her for life but the level that she married into was a hard juggle for her to Snow Flower. But forgot there might be things going on in Snow Flower's life that of all Snow Flower needed someone to listen, and Lily forgot that.
I think Snow Flower would tell her story a bit differently. I think she would tell her story how she was jealous of Lily coming from a farmer's life to being the wife of a prominent family. But Snow Flower would always say she loved Lily and would stand with her. And did what was asked.

I must say when I was reading about Lily and Snow Flower as girls I did think that they were taking their relationship in a different direction. But I believe it really wasn't anything more than friendship. To think about it the culture the girls being "old sames " brings them very close, are curious about each other since they learn things that normally girls don't know.

That is a tough question, being a mother I don't know what I would do if I had to make the choice about my daughter doing foot binding on her. If it was this century, no I would let her choose. I don't think she would do this willingly, if it was part of tradition or not.
For me, yes I would be like Third Sister. First I have something wrong with my one side anyway. But my mother may not push to have foot binding done. She thought me worthless anyway. I was only good for what she wanted.

"Mother Love" pain-love. I believe true. My own mother raised all of us with a yard stick. What ever came out of her mouth if it gave me pain so be it. It would make me stronger. Wouldn't see it was hurting and I would do opposite. I got away from my mother as soon as I could.
Like Lily was doing to SnowFlower at the end.

For the most part Lily and Snow Flower showed their valve by stepping up to what was needed in their marriage for their families and friends.

We are still bound in some way. Families that are big tends to lean always toward that big family, forgetting about the other side. Work, is always demanding. Can't get anything without giving. The rules of our own culture such as women are expected to do things a certain way. Rules of the country, there is always something. If not in some ways life would be chaos.

Yes very much there are times in this day people take a e-mail, text, the wrong way. I too had that happen to me. And explaining sometimes makes it worse. And a response sometimes happens so off the wall. It is hurtful. Communication is very lack now a days.

Madame Wang I don't think she was a necessary evil. She was a strong business woman. Something that the Chinese women of that century needed. Wang might of gave off the impression of evil. But to keep economy and hopefully good matches kept the country going.
Today we have strong women. Same thing always looked as not knowing anything to being evil. A job needs to be done. A world needs to turn.

I give Snow Flower and the Secret Fan 5