The full spectrum of human experience...
The Same Moon by Junying Kirk is the tale of Pearl Zhang, a "spicy Sichuan girl" who grows up during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. More than just another "coming of age" novel, I found this to be a wonderfully-rendered character study. At all times fighting for freedom, Pearl entertains personal aspirations that are not in keeping with the expectations of her society.
It would be an injustice to call The Same Moon a mere love story, although love is certainly at its heart. Nor would I label it a plunge into Asian tradition. It is more universal than that, thanks to the struggles faced by Pearl. We come to accept her, not as the 'perfect heroine', but as someone who is both flawed and strong, at all times reaching past her own imperfections to find "a better way".
Having said that, if Chinese culture and the true plight of immigrants from the Far East are of interest to you, you will not be disappointed in this novel. Often cutting in its honesty, it will take the reader on a journey from oppression to freedom, from childhood to maturity, as Pearl slowly learns to discard her shackles and accept responsibility for her own dreams.
Because our youngest child was born in China, I have a passion for learning about Chinese society. I was thrilled to discover this brilliant gem of a novel, and was even more delighted to find that the story held my interest from start to finish.
I give this e-book 5 stars for honesty, the development of a compelling character, the depth of cultural understanding the author brings to bear and the compassion and generosity evident in each step of Pearl's long journey toward self-actualization.
Well done -- I highly-recommend this book!
author of The First Excellence, Gold And Fishes and The Noon God
(reviewed 45 days after purchase)