Friday, August 7, 2009
Peony in Love by Lisa See is an exquisitely written novel based in 17th Century China. The story, told in the first person, revolves around a young woman named Peony who becomes engulfed in lovesickness, becomes obsessed with a play that revolves around love called The Peony Pavillion and dies of her 'illness'. Peony then becomes a ghost and describes the circumstances she experiences in the afterworld as well as her feelings and what she needs to do to make things right in order to move on. She interferes with the mortal world, makes mistakes, learns how to grow from a young lady to an adult and watches over the family of the love of her life. Peony also learns the history of her family through the words of her deceased grandmother and then her mother and is able to continue on her journey with their help. Love is stronger than death.
This book toys with a reader's emotions. It sent me spinning in a cycle of happiness, sadness, anger and elation. I will never be able to wrap my head around the pain and suffering that a woman had to endure in China. Women were expendable, a piece of property that had no worth and were confined to stay within the walls of a family compound. Women were not able to choose the man that they spent the rest of their life with, but rather forced into a loveless marriage for wealth or family gain. Don't even get me started on the footbinding nonsense...
Reading literature such as Peony in Love definitely makes me realize how good my life has been and how much of my freedoms that I take for granted on a daily basis.