Saturday, January 24, 2009

Book Review: East Wind: West Wind by Pearl Buck

I went to a book club meeting Thursday where we discussed East Wind: West Wind by Pearl Buck. (If you're asking how I ever have time to read a book, I have to admit that if I am reading a book usually something else is not getting done like cleaning the house or updating the blog or feeding my kids.) This book takes place in early 20th century China. The central character is a girl named Kwie-lan who is about to get married to the man she has been arranged to marry since before she was born. Her mother has taught her all the things she needs to know to please her husband like how to paint her eyebrows in just the right way and how to serve tea to her husband's mother with both hands. However, her husband has been educated in the west and wants his wife to be equal to him and to go against custom and live by themselves instead of with his parents. He even wants her to unbind her feet. These ideas are so foreign to Kwie-lan that she is distraught and seeks the advice of her mother who tells her to do whatever she needs to to please her hsuband. Unbinding her feet becomes the bonding moment between Kwie-lan and her husband. So while things are going well for Kwie-lan, the same cannot be said for her brother who went to America and brought back an American wife. He is disowned from his family and his mother is so upset that it causes her death. Kwie-lan and her brother both break from centuries-old traditions to find a new life for themselves and their families.

Here is what I took away from this book:1) No matter how much you prepare for something, sometimes it is much different than you thought it would be, and that is not necessarily bad. 2)When you really get to know someone you realize that you have more similarities than differences. 3) What happens when the western idea of love meets the eastern idea of love is the same theme of another book by Pearl Buck called Mandala which my mom checked out for me to read one summer during high school.

All in all, if you are looking for a good read, pick up East Wind: West Wind by Pearl Buck.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grandpa Herschel's 90th Birthday Party

My grandpa Herschel Hafen turned 90 on January 19. On January 17 we had a party for him. He is one of thirteen children and he has seven children of his own. So with brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, it was quite a full house. Each of his childrens' families shared some kind of musical number, all of which were beautiful (we get that from our grandmother). What I thought was best was that Lance spent almost the whole time sitting next to grandpa. Lance has a special affinity for old people and Grandpa said it just made his day that Lance wanted to be next to him.
If you know my grandpa, you know that he is the strong silent type, but every once in a while he can be quite witty. He owned a tire store for many years and he loves his family more than anything in the world. It's interesting that I married someone who is the strong, silent type, witty once in a while, runs a tire store, and loves his family more than anything.