The Woman Warrior

Written by: Maxine Hong Kingston

The Woman Warrior Book Cover
A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity. It is a sensitive account of growing up female and Chinese-American in a California laundry.
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The Woman Warrior Reviews

Jane
To be fair, Maxine Hong Kingston has zero responsibility to represent any aspect of Chinese-American culture that she doesn't want to or identify with, but I am really not fond of the mysticism and superstition-steeped flavor of immigrant fiction. In that vein, I was somewhat annoyed with how she referred to essentially all non-family members as ghosts-- like "postman ghosts" and "Mexican ghosts". I was also left a bit uncomfortable with her interactions with and portrayal of a person with cogni To be fair, Maxine Hong Kingston has zero responsibility to represent any aspect of Chinese-American culture that she doesn't want to or identify with, but I am really not fond of the mysticism and superstition-steeped flavor of immigrant fiction. In that vein, I was somewhat annoyed with how she referred to essentially all non-family members as ghosts-- like "postman ghosts" and "Mexican ghosts". I was also left a bit uncomfortable with her interactions with and portrayal of a person with cognitive disabilities, although this book was published in 1976 so I suppose that there's some context for that.
Elizabeth
I got this book free from a library sale. I thought my roomie might like it, but it's like reading the Chinese Toni Morrison. First of all, I can't understand how this book can be classified as non-fiction. Second of all, I can't understand how this book can win any award. Maybe because it sounds like a drug-induced recollection of childhood. Not worth the time it takes to read.
Zeineb Nouira
I have finally found an exhibit to the term « cultural treasure » ; this book in all of its literariness and far-reaching references. Kingston’s plan, according to me, is to narrate her existence as a Chinese-born citizen within an American milieu,but in an intricate way.

This is by no means an average by-the-book memoir. It is like a web of hints to Chinese culture, willage-based traditions, classics and even dynastic lines and politics. By zooming out from herself as the subject of the story, I have finally found an exhibit to the term « cultural treasure » ; this book in all of its literariness and far-reaching references. Kingston’s plan, according to me, is to narrate her existence as a Chinese-born citizen within an American milieu,but in an intricate way.

This is by no means an average by-the-book memoir. It is like a web of hints to Chinese culture, willage-based traditions, classics and even dynastic lines and politics. By zooming out from herself as the subject of the story, the author creates parallel universes in which she uses other characters (the woman warrior which a clear hint to the folkloric tale of Fa Mu Lan, and the story of her mother during college) in order to paint her own portrait. The narrative voice flactuates according to how close the author’s image is reaching the end of its depiction. In other terms, at the beginning and in the middle, the 3rd singular pronoun « She » and its possessive case « her » were the tools that direct the progress of the story. Once a pattern of ressemblance is established, that is from every character a kind of character trait is extracted, Kingston starts her own story by using the 1st singular pronoun « I » and its related syntactic apparatus. This deliberate distance in focusing her own being as the centre can be explained as an attempt to widen her horizons in order to better explore herself as a second-generation Chinese immigrant in a land filled with « ghosts ». Thus, the characterisation scheme only reaches its peak after mentioning folk and family tales. Kingston, in this respect, renders her book an encyclopedic work, a portal through which Chinese culture becomes accessible. The reader then embarks on a « [j]ourney to the [East] » like the Monkey King Sun Wu Kong and the Buddhist priest Sanzang.

I, personally, found this book a witty display of an Americanised mindset. Culture wars, struggle to find one’s place in a new milieu, the journey of self-discovery, and many other themes make up the skeleton of The Woman Warrior. Such a rich and intriguing read.
Thank you, Maxine Hong Kingston.
Like Life :: Birds of America :: Repair :: Reservation Blues :: Dame Agatha Abroad: Murder on the Orient Express / They Came to Bagdad / Murder in Mesopotamia
Ðɑηηɑ
The first one hundred pages were beautifully written, weaving together Chinese myths and autobiographical notes. I enjoyed the first and second stories very much, my favorite part being her Mother's years in medical school, I loved this part! Had this book only been these two stories, it'd certainly receive four or five stars from me. However, about halfway through the fourth story I've abandoned it in, completely bored.
Alessia
First off this is a book for school, so I had no choice to read it. Ssiigghhh. I'm getting really tired of all these sorts of plots. Don't get me wrong, Asian American immigration during WW1 and WW2 was extremely difficult and in some other cases the racism incurred after their arrival to the Americas was even harder to deal with, but why does every single book I read with Asian American characters have to deal with the exact same topics!?!? In the last 3 years at university I had to read 4 diff First off this is a book for school, so I had no choice to read it. Ssiigghhh. I'm getting really tired of all these sorts of plots. Don't get me wrong, Asian American immigration during WW1 and WW2 was extremely difficult and in some other cases the racism incurred after their arrival to the Americas was even harder to deal with, but why does every single book I read with Asian American characters have to deal with the exact same topics!?!? In the last 3 years at university I had to read 4 different books all surrounding this exact same problem. Honestly I am just getting tired of it. It's unnecisarily repetitive. I took off a whole star just for that!! Don't give a fuck

Now getting on to the actual book, the first few chapters were decent and held my interest. The book demonstrates a very stereotypical view of Chinese individuals, such as girls being viewed as useless, boys getting everything, women being shamed by the family if they do anything wrong, and younger generations not understanding the struggle of the older generations cuz they didn't live through immigration or a war.

Okaii I have many problems with this book so I'm gonna try to keep it short. Please Enjoy :)

First of all, OF COURSE the younger generation doesn't understand about the struggles of immigration or living through a war. They didn't choose to be born during the 70s and 80s. Honest to fuck, this is the EXACT attitude of elderly people in my life too. I didn't live through a war, therefore I don't know what it's like to really struggle.....wtf is wrong with you?! If anything the older people are just jealous that they weren't lucky enough to live through a peaceful time like all of us young people. It's fucking annoying, and the fact the book reminded me of this fact every 10 seconds pissed me off to high hell. Just because I wasn't dogging enemy soldiers for my entire childhood, doesn't mean my self worth is less than yours, go fuck yourself.

Secondly, I'm actually really surprised how the Chinese view women as useless, considering the chapter about Mulan demonstrated the exact opposite, and how she was raised to the same respect level as a man. This inconsistency makes no fucking sense. If you praise a fictional woman and place her on a pedestal, but think your own daughter is useless and "not worth raising", then that makes you a terrible fucking person. Plain and simple. Fuck your morals because you my dear, have none!

Thirdly, THE. WOMEN. IN. THIS. BOOK. ARE. ALL. TALK.
The second last chapter is all about Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid travelling to Los Angeles in order to confront Moon Orchid's husband for abandoning her and the children for 30 years. During THE WHOLE chapter and I mean the WHOLE chapter it is just them going back and forth discussing what they are gonna do when they confront him......it is probably the most infuriating and boring section of dialogue I have ever read in my entire life. Nothing fucking happens in this section at all, and when they finally confront him, they don't do ANYTHING about what they discussed. Like why the fuck did the author waste all my time with that section then? Cuz I was ready to throw my book out the window after this chapter. I came so close to stopping this book, but THE ONLY reason I kept with it is because it's a school book.

Lastly, the final chapter.....first of all, I didn't even know what the main character's name was, cuz it's never spoken in the book (shit like that pisses me off) there is a whole section where she bullies a tiny Chinese girl because the girl refuses to speak. ANY respect I had for her up till there I lost. And as punishment Kingston (apparently what her name is) becomes sick for the next year and a half. And honestly GOOD! I hoped something worse happened to her tbh. I was bullied badly in school and whenever I see main characters in books trying to justify why they are picking on others, I immediately hate them. FUCK if this section is supposed to be a growing point for her character and has some metaphorical meaning....BULLYING. HAS. NO. DEEPER. MEANING. OTHER. THAN. DEMONSTRATING. TO. ME. THAT. YOU'RE. A. TERRIBLE. PERSON. WHO. DESERVES. TO. BE. HIT. OVER. THE. HEAD. WITH. A. BRICK. THEN. THROWN. OFF. A. CLIFF.

This book only gets 2 stars cuz of the Mulan chapter. I'm sorry. I can talk about this fucking shitty book anymore.
Jessica
This completely blew me away. This book should be required reading for everyone, it's a beautiful work of art and I have such a deep respect for anyone willing to look to their family past and see something beautiful even if it's a distressing history. This isn't a coherent review because I'm still a bit emotional.
Lamora/Ches
I have mentioned earlier that I wasn’t able to place this book within a genre, and now I just believe it doesn’t really have one. Kingston seems to believe the same; that the boundaries of memoir/autobiography/novel, more often than not, crisscross and meld through her writing. Her characters are not really fiction, but never entirely real. The merging of the real experience and the fictive one is so simples and unnoticeable, we’re left to wonder about the “facts”.

A most remarkable thing about t I have mentioned earlier that I wasn’t able to place this book within a genre, and now I just believe it doesn’t really have one. Kingston seems to believe the same; that the boundaries of memoir/autobiography/novel, more often than not, crisscross and meld through her writing. Her characters are not really fiction, but never entirely real. The merging of the real experience and the fictive one is so simples and unnoticeable, we’re left to wonder about the “facts”.

A most remarkable thing about this novel happens when Kingston herself admits, during her childhood, that it was difficult to perceive what was the memory of a Chinese culture, and what was the invention of villagers who left home long ago. Kingston doesn’t exaggerate or disregards the boundary between memoir and fiction carelessly, but seems to draw from this quality, refusing to be wholly imaginary or wholly factual.

"No Name Woman", the book's first chapter, offers a description of a family secret. But because the parents refuse to tell the story in any detail, Kingston establishes a few plausible occurrences on her own. Because the first-generation, during wistful reminiscences of their childhood village, refuse to completely dispel the obscurity of their past, Kingston’s need to appropriate the stories, fill in the gaps through speculation, and consequently step from memory to invention seems unavoidable. Without that knowledge she remains lost between cultures: Chinese, American, and Chinese-American. And throughout the entire book, there is the same restless ambivalence that is found in "No Name Woman": the yearning to reconcile a divided identity. Also, there is the desire to simply embrace her heritage and China, and the anger at the injustices suffered by Chinese women and girls.

There are also two other important aspects (that will be significant throughout the book) in this first chapter: the silence and the second-generation sense of rootlessness.

The Woman Warrior, though taken up with several kinds of fantasy and full of anecdotes from the author’s childhood, is a sober narrative of an immigrant culture, and a family’s story. Even though the Chinese immigrant community is familiar to the author, she does not feel at home there, because the cultural disconnect between first and second-generations appears impossible to overcome. One of Kingston’s wishes is to be reunited with her own estranged family.

The final chapter, “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe”, suggests that Kingston identifies herself as living among “barbarians” - her own community and family. Kingston compares herself to the second-century poet and musician Ts'ai Yen, who was taken captive by barbarians, and is best known for her Eighteen Stanzas for a Barbarian Reed Pipe, a series of short songs about her life among her captors and her longing to return to her own people.

At the ending of the story [and of the book], Kingston only briefly notes the poetess lamenting over her separation from her native land and her eventual return to her homeland. Instead, focuses on Ts'ai Yen as she recognizes eventually the validity of the barbarians' culture. I believe this suggests an ability to live amicably in both American and Chinese [and Chinese-American] cultures. That this story implies that as Kingston has accepted her Chinese past, so her family (especially her mother, Brave Orchid) learned to accept the American influence.
Ellen
October is going to be the month of clearing out my "currently reading" list. There are some books that have been on there for months, and they feel like lead, useless paperweights on my bed stand, so heavy when I pick them up and try to pry them apart and read them. Unfortunately, this is one of them. I managed to get through it out of sheer determination. The only good thing is that it has been a rather effective substitute for sleeping pills.

I'm sorry, Maxine. I really wanted to dig your boo October is going to be the month of clearing out my "currently reading" list. There are some books that have been on there for months, and they feel like lead, useless paperweights on my bed stand, so heavy when I pick them up and try to pry them apart and read them. Unfortunately, this is one of them. I managed to get through it out of sheer determination. The only good thing is that it has been a rather effective substitute for sleeping pills.

I'm sorry, Maxine. I really wanted to dig your book. I can't quite figure out why I didn't, as yours was exactly the kind of book I was seeking when I bought it: I wanted a lyrical memoir, poetic nonfiction, something not linear, a true story but with imaginative language, pretty sentences, something that worked on an associative not merely a narrative level. You gave me all of that, and yet, it didn't hold my interest. It struck me as too rambling, too disembodied, too grasping, yes, too ghost-like. As for the passages that did have a narrative thrust, well, the stories therein were kind of boring. More often than not they went on too long.

I feel guilty for this review. Was it my fault? Surely, I must take some responsibility for this. It takes two to tango, after all. Perhaps it was my lack of commitment, my hopelessly scattered attentions over these last few months, the fact that I cheated on your book with so many others while I was reading it. I was an undisciplined, neglectful reader. It's true. In the end though, I just found it non-compelling. Narrative or no narrative, something in a book must build; if it doesn't build, it should at least accrue or accrete. Nothing of the sort happened here. The sudden appearance of the "I" at the end felt abrasive. I have no idea who this "I" is...I haven't ever met her, she has taken no time to introduce herself, and now she is yelling at me? Where are your manners? Maxine, you did show a level of awareness about what you were doing, when, at the end, you wrote: "And I don't want to listen to anymore of your stories; they have no logic. They scramble me up. You lie with stories. You won't tell me a story and then say, 'This is a true story,' or 'This is just a story.' I can't tell the difference...I can't stand fever and delirium or listening to people coming out of anesthesia.'" And if the way you wrote this book was an artful way of conveying something about the Chinese culture in which you were raised with its dense fog of superstition, all those unmentionables, the pervasive denial and obfuscation, a grimly misogynistic culture haunted by ghosts both present and past, then I can admire what you've done here, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone as a worthy read.

I will concede that the problem could have been timing. Perhaps if I had picked this up a year earlier, under different circumstances, we could have made a connection. We could yet tango into the fog together, maybe a year from now, when things have settled down, and be able to exist mysteriously there together, pale and happy for a time.
Jack Massa
Fabulous writing. Really enjoyed the mix of Chinese folklore with biography. Learned a LOT about life in a totally foreign (to me) and fascinating culture.
Lisa
Last year, I read that "The Woman Warrior" was one of the books President Obama put on his daughter's Kindle and I resolved to (finally) read it. And I'm so glad I did. It is a poetic hybrid of memoir, myth and invention; set in contemporary California and Kingston's mother's China. Kingston creates her own version of family stories, inserts herself into Chinese folklore and beautifully describes the isolation of growing up female and Chinese-American.

The shifts between the past and present, be Last year, I read that "The Woman Warrior" was one of the books President Obama put on his daughter's Kindle and I resolved to (finally) read it. And I'm so glad I did. It is a poetic hybrid of memoir, myth and invention; set in contemporary California and Kingston's mother's China. Kingston creates her own version of family stories, inserts herself into Chinese folklore and beautifully describes the isolation of growing up female and Chinese-American.

The shifts between the past and present, between the imagined and truth are sometimes disorienting but somehow work. At the end of the book she shouts to her mother: "You lie with your stories. You won't tell me a story and then say, "This is a true story,' or "This is just a story.' I can't tell the difference. I don't even know what your real names are. I can't tell what's real and what you make up."

Exactly.
Patsy Parker
I put this on my to-read shelf at first, because I want to RE-READ it! I read this in college in an Asian-American Literature class, and it was excellent. I enjoyed our discussions and writing an essay on it in class.

NOW I am re-reading it! I know so much more about Chinese culture now than I did 20 years ago that this is even better the second time around!
Stephen
The joke I like to make is that you can't be an Asian American literature scholar without having read Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior. These days, I tend to think of it pretty much as one of the very few crossover Asian American literary texts that are referred to in multiple critical circles. Max, you made it girl!
Arpita Bhuyan
Wow.
The way Kingston blends Chinese folklore with her own memories as a first generation Chinese-American to tell the story of her childhood is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. No description of mine can do justice to what Kingston has tried to weave. Amazing, amazing read!
Jackie Jou
I hate this book with a fiery blood-soaked passion. Really? Do Asian women think in aphorisms and have dreams about dragons? Do we all fancy ourselves as Mulan reincarnated? Do our mothers always woefully misunderstand us? No, we don't.
Tani
This book was a bit of a disappointment to me, I have to admit. I bought it more than 10 years ago, read the first little bit and loved it, then put it down for some reason, and didn't get back to it until now. I really wish I had kept reading it back in the day because I feel like I might have liked it very much. I just didn't feel the same today.

The first thing I noticed about this book was the writing. Even when I was less than interested in the events of the book, the writing would draw me This book was a bit of a disappointment to me, I have to admit. I bought it more than 10 years ago, read the first little bit and loved it, then put it down for some reason, and didn't get back to it until now. I really wish I had kept reading it back in the day because I feel like I might have liked it very much. I just didn't feel the same today.

The first thing I noticed about this book was the writing. Even when I was less than interested in the events of the book, the writing would draw me in. Maxine Hong Kingston has a lovely way with words, and definitely enjoyed that part of the book. What got me, I think, was just the meandering nature of the narrative. There was no clear destination to any of the chapters, and I just found it hard to maintain interest. When I was reading the book, I enjoyed it, but I never really felt compelled to pick it up.

The format was also kind of confusing at first. I picked it up for a nonfiction read since it's technically a memoir, but it didn't feel at all like nonfiction. A section would start with some basic facts and events, but before I knew it, it would meander into speculation or just straight-up fantasy. It made for a bit of literary whiplash, especially before I had adapted to it. I can't say I minded it as a technique, but it lent itself to that meandering quality that made it hard for me to stay focused on reading the book.

I did think it was interesting to see some of the issues that were explored. There's a lot of focus on Maxine Hong Kingston's mother, who is simultaneously interesting and completely annoying. I enjoyed learning about her past in China, but I found it hard to reconcile that with the way that she behaves in America. I imagine that Maxine Hong Kingston does as well, given how much time she spends exploring her mother's character. I also liked the look at one experience of immigration, which is an issue I'm especially interested in at the moment. I've spent some time in Japan, so I feel like I understand a little bit of what it might be like, but this book brought it a bit clearer for me.
Nicole
It was interesting which parts of this book I remembered from when I read it in high school. I could turn it into a strange kind of character study, seeing what I remembered, what I brought with me all these years later.

I decided to re-read this because I watched Disney's "Mulan" and remembered having read a story about the Chinese version of her (as compared with the Disney version).

It was nice to reconnect with my high-school-English-class self and with my Chinese half of the family, though a It was interesting which parts of this book I remembered from when I read it in high school. I could turn it into a strange kind of character study, seeing what I remembered, what I brought with me all these years later.

I decided to re-read this because I watched Disney's "Mulan" and remembered having read a story about the Chinese version of her (as compared with the Disney version).

It was nice to reconnect with my high-school-English-class self and with my Chinese half of the family, though a couple generations removed. I wonder how my grandparents behaved at Chinese school. I wonder if their parents made them translate things they were embarrassed about.

This is a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, and the line between the two is so skillfully blurred that you won't know when you crossed it.
Marisa Balogh
I'm not usually a fan of memior, however, this is beautiful storytelling. This is the memior of a Chinese woman growing up between two worlds. Those of us who are first generation Americans will absolutely be able to relate. However, you don't have to be first generation to enjoy this book. The insights into Chinese culture and the almost lyrical style of the storytelling will keep you more than interested in this author's story.
Cynda
Kingston describes some of the women in her family, focusing on her mother who story-talked. This collection of four memior is story-talk, narratives. Less linear, sometimes even some magical realism in "White Tiger". I don'the always quite quite understand. I do know Kingston is working toward an understanding herself and her family as Chinese-Americans in writing these memiors.
Alice Liu
I thought that I would connect personally with this book, but didn't. Even so, I appreciate MHK's genre-bending memoir. It provokes thoughts, questions and is interesting in both form and writing style. I think that MHK succeeded in representing a China that is both true to her and beyond her.
Christine
Powerful. The blend of memoir and fiction takes you to the most haunted places in the human psyche
Sofia🍃
This is a very feminist book about growing up as a young Chinese girl in America. Told in 5 chapters, each section takes on a life of it's own and explains a different aspect of Chinese culture. To me it was mostly a book about a mother daughter relationship, and how women are treated in China. Incredibly eye opening and empowering. I did feel a little lost and confused at times during the book since some parts have such a lyrical and fantasy prose. All in all, this is a very important book abou This is a very feminist book about growing up as a young Chinese girl in America. Told in 5 chapters, each section takes on a life of it's own and explains a different aspect of Chinese culture. To me it was mostly a book about a mother daughter relationship, and how women are treated in China. Incredibly eye opening and empowering. I did feel a little lost and confused at times during the book since some parts have such a lyrical and fantasy prose. All in all, this is a very important book about identity and family.
Janice
I enjoyed this book immensely. It combines and intertwines categories beautifully; I cannot clearly define it but it's something between Chinese and English writing, something between fiction and nonfiction, modern and traditional writing, a novel, made up of short stories.
Vivian He
I think this book is look like a short story. The setting in the story is some of the Chinese history story, and the writer is not very believe that. Also in this story you can know the difference between the Chinese history and Americans history. But there is a lot of part I am not very understand it .
Heidi
Maxine Hong Kingston the author of "the Woman warrior published her book in 1976. Kingston was born on October 27, 1940. Kingston isn't only a Chinese American author but also a professor at the university of California, Berkeley. The stories she wrote in her book are based on stories told by her mother.
The story of the "No-name woman" takes place in the new society village in China. The rest of the stories takes place in Stockton, California. The woman warrior focuses on stories about five Chi Maxine Hong Kingston the author of "the Woman warrior published her book in 1976. Kingston was born on October 27, 1940. Kingston isn't only a Chinese American author but also a professor at the university of California, Berkeley. The stories she wrote in her book are based on stories told by her mother.
The story of the "No-name woman" takes place in the new society village in China. The rest of the stories takes place in Stockton, California. The woman warrior focuses on stories about five Chinese women. One of the stories talks about a female warrior called fa mu lan. In the chapter "white tigers," fa mu lan trains to be a warrior even though she is not a man. Later in the story she leads a ray of men to go after a corrupted emperor. After all her but,Es were over she went back to being a mother and wife. Some of the themes are the role of women in traditional Chinese society and the individual vs. the community.
I think that this is a great book. In one of the stories it talks about a woman who proves to others that women can do the same thing men can do. It also lets you feel as if you where living the life of a traditional chides woman. For me this book took a slow pacenot read.
The movie "Mulan" is similar to one of the chapters called "White Tigers." They both talk about a woman who trains to be in a Chinese army even though they are not men. The both also lead there amry full of men. Anyone who is interested in Chinese cultures should read this book. I think they will enjoy this book because it talks about historical Chinese traditions and the traditional stories that were told to each other.
I think that the book is important because it helps the reader understand Chinese traditions and the type of stores they told.

Olivia C
This book really surprised me. I had to read it for a school assignment, and my teacher made it out to be some big scary literary monster that I would lose my head to. But I actually really enjoyed this one.

I thought Maxine Hong Kingston's writing style was going to be dense and confusing, but it was shockingly easy to understand, yet fun to read as well. This book is very well thought out and purposeful, and I was not bored once in this book. (Okay, she did go on and on a bit at one part, but This book really surprised me. I had to read it for a school assignment, and my teacher made it out to be some big scary literary monster that I would lose my head to. But I actually really enjoyed this one.

I thought Maxine Hong Kingston's writing style was going to be dense and confusing, but it was shockingly easy to understand, yet fun to read as well. This book is very well thought out and purposeful, and I was not bored once in this book. (Okay, she did go on and on a bit at one part, but I can overlook it in the grand scheme of things).

I absolutely loved how this book was organized. This book is a memoir, yet it's not just a simple recount of her life and childhood. It is an examination of her past, her family's past, and her culture's past. It even feels more like a series of essays or short stories rather than a biography. There are five chapters in this book, and each one of them can stand alone. Each chapter feels concise and unified in one idea she wants to convey, and then you move on to the next chapter and she somehow manages to build upon it without it being redundant. I think I really appreciate that she capped this book at 200 pages. It could have been so easy for her to make it twice as long and include many more details, but then it would have become repetitive and dull. She kept it very fresh by not slowing it down with over-description. I was especially loved Kingston's voice. She is so honest and blatant with her words. I especially loved her explanation of her teenage years. She does not write in a distinguished, educated, high-and-mighty voice; she writes with the brashness of a teenager.

And her topic!! I confess, my knowledge of Chinese history and culture is limited. But this book really opened my eyes and taught me so much. I was thoroughly interested and engaged in her rich culture and history, and I loved hearing about what a Chinese-American immigrant has to say about her parents' culture and generation. I also appreciated how feminist this book is. I rooted for Kingston the whole time, through all her struggles and injustices.

This book just made me feel so good! I mean, there were times where I wanted to cry from a sad part, or my mouth was open wide with shock, but I finished this book feeling really good about it. And I think that is the most important thing.
Aref Elbanna
The genre of the book is autobiography. It talks about a Chinese-American woman’s childhood and the struggles she faced while growing up with her family. I chose this book to read because it teaches you lessons how to overcome struggles in your life and be patient in life. The protagonist in the story is Maxine Hong Kingston. She works hard to succeed in her life and to overcome he struggles she is facing. The antagonist in the book is Brave Orchid. She gave Kingston hard time while growing up The genre of the book is autobiography. It talks about a Chinese-American woman’s childhood and the struggles she faced while growing up with her family. I chose this book to read because it teaches you lessons how to overcome struggles in your life and be patient in life. The protagonist in the story is Maxine Hong Kingston. She works hard to succeed in her life and to overcome he struggles she is facing. The antagonist in the book is Brave Orchid. She gave Kingston hard time while growing up and she was responsible for Kingston’s life in America. The supporting characters are Kingston’s father and Fa Mu Lan. They both inspired Kingston while growing up in America and facing difficulties.

The central conflict of the book is (man vs. society). Maxine Hong Kingston is a Chinese-American woman. Growing up in America is difficult than growing up in china. Maxine is struggling in the community because of the traditions. Her parent’s traditions are old fashioned since they were raised in China and later on came to America. But as Kinston growing up in America, she is struggling because America is a whole different society. Also, her parents are very strict on everything she did. The theme of the book is the role of Kingston living in a Chinese society. The mountains are a symbol because they represent safety, bring luck, and isolation from the society. Ghosts are a motif in the book because they represent American and Chinese or life and death. Also, ghosts are represented so powerful in the memoir.

The author’s writing style is very clear and critical. She talks about her life in details about how she overcame her struggles. Also, her writing style is based on her life experience with her mother telling her stories that made her believe that they are true. I would recommend this book to others to read because I know as a fact it teaches other people a lesson on how to be patient and not give up in life no matter what. Also, it teaches us how to face struggles and overcome them at the end even though it is challenging. Finally, it teaches us how a person can face problems living in two different societies and achieve the struggles and move forward.
Black Elephants
I've finally finished Maxine Hong Kingston's Warrior Woman: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. The "ghosts" refer to her Chinese mother's habit of calling everything that isn't explainable, i.e. not Chinese, a ghost. There are immigration ghosts, ghost ghosts, American ghosts, neighbor ghosts, ghosty ghosts and even the narrator is sometimes referred to as a ghost because she chatters on and on like ghosts in her new country.

I honestly must say that I'm not sure if I liked the book, but I reall I've finally finished Maxine Hong Kingston's Warrior Woman: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. The "ghosts" refer to her Chinese mother's habit of calling everything that isn't explainable, i.e. not Chinese, a ghost. There are immigration ghosts, ghost ghosts, American ghosts, neighbor ghosts, ghosty ghosts and even the narrator is sometimes referred to as a ghost because she chatters on and on like ghosts in her new country.

I honestly must say that I'm not sure if I liked the book, but I really couldn't say why... .

The book is divided into five short stories.

"No Name Woman" is about Kingston's aunt who gave birth to an illegitimate child and then killed herself. On the evening of the baby's birth and the mother and child's death, the entire village storms through the house, destroying everything because the aunt "dared" to bear a baby out of wedlock. From the moment of her suicide, Kingston says that the aunt was basically erased for existence and forbidden an afterlife existence because of her crime. It is a very powerful story.

"White Tigers" is a story I just don't remember.

"Shaman" is about Kingston's mother. Before coming to America, her mother was a powerful doctor. The only part I really remember is how she went one on one against a ghost in a school and won.

"At the Western Palace" deals with the arrival of Kingston's aunt from China, her culturation into America, her mother's fierceness in her sister's right to her husband's home (the husband's remarried an American), and the aunt's subsequent fall into madness.

"A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe" is a story that deals with Kingston's own feelings and confusion in regards to her Chinese/American identity.

I really wish that I loved this book and didn't feel so "i don't know" about it. I kind of feel like I did after I read Jean Rhys' Wild Saragasso Sea. Is something wrong with me? Why am I having such a hard time identifying with important female authors? Is it their style? Is it their story? Throughout the book, my interest wavered from VERY INTERESTED to I could take it or leave it. I'm sad for me.
John
American-born daughter of Chinese immigrants, Maxine is told many tales by her mother of strong and fierce Chinese women who are also held down and despised slaves in a patriarcal structure. Bearing this heavy heritage, she has to find her way in the more permissive and logical American culture. Yet, Americans are ghosts to her parents, meaning that they live in another dimension of reality which interferes only loosely with theirs.
The unique and gripping form of MHK's memoir is an attempt to co American-born daughter of Chinese immigrants, Maxine is told many tales by her mother of strong and fierce Chinese women who are also held down and despised slaves in a patriarcal structure. Bearing this heavy heritage, she has to find her way in the more permissive and logical American culture. Yet, Americans are ghosts to her parents, meaning that they live in another dimension of reality which interferes only loosely with theirs.
The unique and gripping form of MHK's memoir is an attempt to connect all the pieces of her complex and problematic identity: five stories, each one built around a main woman character, real or fictional, and a weaving of past and present, America and China, reality and legend, living and dead. She choses merging over fragmenting, which allows her to make the last universalising move. Her story becomes the story of all the silenced women in "barbarian" land.
Her weapon is language but her language must be double-edged because Chinese always lies behind her English. The difficult task of finding this translatable language turns her into one of the women-warrior. She has to break the spell of Chinese, "language of impossible stories", starting with the curse that it casts on women. One of the female "I" is the word for "slave", she reveals.
She also uses the power of Chinese language to fight against its paradoxical commandment of silence and to find her own singular voice. The word for "revenge" means "to report a crime". "The reporting is the vengeance", she explains.
However this voice of revenge and anger is also absolutely lyrical and what rises in the last story is a song whose words don't matter anymore because its meaning is universal beyond language.
Magdalena Hai
Osin hämmentäväkin katsaus yhden naisen kasvuun lapsesta aikuiseksi kiinalaisen ja amerikkalaisen kulttuurin paineessa. Kirjalla on terävä kärki, eikä se anna armoa henkilöilleen, mikä tekee siitä kiinnostavan, mutta sama armottomuus on myös sen heikkous. Jollain tasolla tunsin, että tarina jäi kesken. Hyvin rakennettu kaari ikään kuin katkaistiin liian aikaisin. Jos voisin antaa puolia tähtiä, antaisin tälle kolme ja puoli juuri tämän keskeneräisyyden vuoksi. Mutta koska kirjassa on kyse valeht Osin hämmentäväkin katsaus yhden naisen kasvuun lapsesta aikuiseksi kiinalaisen ja amerikkalaisen kulttuurin paineessa. Kirjalla on terävä kärki, eikä se anna armoa henkilöilleen, mikä tekee siitä kiinnostavan, mutta sama armottomuus on myös sen heikkous. Jollain tasolla tunsin, että tarina jäi kesken. Hyvin rakennettu kaari ikään kuin katkaistiin liian aikaisin. Jos voisin antaa puolia tähtiä, antaisin tälle kolme ja puoli juuri tämän keskeneräisyyden vuoksi. Mutta koska kirjassa on kyse valehtelusta ja puolitotuuksista, ja lopultakin siitä, että päähenkilön uteliaisuus ja kysymykset jäävät lukijan kysymysten tavoin vastausta vaille, ratkaisu tavallaan myös sopii kokonaisuuteen ja lienee harkittu.

Kiinalainen kulttuuri näyttäytyy kirjassa ankarana ja hyvin epämiellyttävänäkin, ensisijaisesti päähenkilön(/kirjailijan) äidin kautta, joka on lähes sadunomainen tyyppi ja vahvasti oman elämänsä sankari, The Woman Warrior. Toinen soturi on päähenkilö/kirjoittaja itse. (Toisaalla on keskustelua siitä, onko kirja omaelämäkerta vai puhtaasti fiktiota. Tämäkin sopii kirjan teemoihin.) Äidin ja tyttären suhde on vaikea, mikä heijastuu tyttären tapaan kertoa äidistään ja tämän elämästä Kiinassa. Miten kirjoitetaan vanhemmasta, joka kieltäytyy puhumasta totta? Äidin tarinat hämmentävät totuuteen pyrkivää tytärtä ja estävät häntä saamasta rauhaa oman taustansa suhteen. Äiti puolestaan turhautuu tyttäreen, joka ei ymmärrä "kylän" kulttuuria ja haluaa oppia ulkomaisten haamujen tavoille. The Woman Warrior ei ole kevyttä nojatuolimatkailua, vaan yhden naisen, yhden tyttären, tuskastunut huuto.
Melissa
I've never wanted to review a book more or felt less capable of doing it. This is a masterpiece that I enjoyed on first reading. That being said I feel the need to "roll it around" in my brain for a while to get my thoughts in order. This is a book you reread and get different readings and meanings each time.

It's a book about a woman's experience growing up Chinese-American in the 1940's. She manages to tell her story, her mother's story, and folk stories at the same time, weaving them together I've never wanted to review a book more or felt less capable of doing it. This is a masterpiece that I enjoyed on first reading. That being said I feel the need to "roll it around" in my brain for a while to get my thoughts in order. This is a book you reread and get different readings and meanings each time.

It's a book about a woman's experience growing up Chinese-American in the 1940's. She manages to tell her story, her mother's story, and folk stories at the same time, weaving them together beautifully and deftly. I can't do it justice.
Bookish
Reading The Woman Warrior has felt like a journey, a sort of existential journey wherein I relive my own struggles to say, yes this is who I am! And don't you forget it! It was fun to have a window crack open on one family's life, a Han Chinese family's life, first in China and then later in California, and to watch this girl take shape - all through the narrator's voice. All that craziness mixed in with the normal everyday living was heady! I felt her pain at the injustice of it all stemming fr Reading The Woman Warrior has felt like a journey, a sort of existential journey wherein I relive my own struggles to say, yes this is who I am! And don't you forget it! It was fun to have a window crack open on one family's life, a Han Chinese family's life, first in China and then later in California, and to watch this girl take shape - all through the narrator's voice. All that craziness mixed in with the normal everyday living was heady! I felt her pain at the injustice of it all stemming from what it means to be a girl in Chinese patriarchy, and the intensely personal thrust when it comes from her mother. Those interactions were infuriating to read for me, and the lumping of people into Ghosts provoked a bit of a visceral reaction.

And don't even get me started on how this story gets told - I am in love with Maxine Hong Kingston's weaving of the folk and memoir in telling this story. It took what was already an interesting read to another level. The language was evocative, I felt like I could take in the cold, mountain air and feel the round beads in my palm just like Fa Mu Lan. One last point to make - Moon Orchid's appearance was a personal highlight for me. She just opened up the narrative even further, in ways that I am just mind-boggled over. This definitely warrants a repeat read.
Navaneeta
If you are not heard, you don't exist. You become a ghost. That is why you need to story-talk - to be. And to be sane, you have to be able to change your stories. Only mad men keeps saying the same old story.

In The Woman Warrior, we meet a child who is trying to negotiate between the sane and the insane, between the story and the reality, between myth and history, between a Chinese Fresh-of-the-Boat (FOB) culture and the mixed American culture with all its differences. She is shaped as much by t If you are not heard, you don't exist. You become a ghost. That is why you need to story-talk - to be. And to be sane, you have to be able to change your stories. Only mad men keeps saying the same old story.

In The Woman Warrior, we meet a child who is trying to negotiate between the sane and the insane, between the story and the reality, between myth and history, between a Chinese Fresh-of-the-Boat (FOB) culture and the mixed American culture with all its differences. She is shaped as much by the food that Brave Orchid places at the table as by the story of her aunt who must never be named. An America-born, she doesn't understand the tradition of uttering the opposite, to be called ugly when you mean beautiful, and is scarred during childhood. Yet there is the great-uncle who considers all girls "maggots"; I highly doubt he was speaking in opposites then.

She has a "duck" voice. Her mother had cut the frenum so that she could speak clearly yet her environment doesn't allow her to do so. Like the girl at school who can read aloud but cannot speak otherwise, the narrator too cannot speak out her mind even when she wants to, not until she writes it down as this novel. She longs for confessionals yet is barred by her religion. Her mother does not have time to listen to what she considers her daughter's trivial thoughts. She is more a "ghost" than all the other characters who are called ghosts. She stops being a ghost only when she finally starts screaming about the "huncher".

You have to tell your story - to stop being a ghost, to start being you.
Annerlee
Excellent. The writer describes a world within a world - a Chinese village culture that has transferred to the US - the 'Golden Mountain'. The older generation see their current situation as unreal and temporary, the real world is the one they left behind, they are living in a world of ghosts.

The author is part of a younger generation struggling to understand a culture that isn't really hers. She is not sure whether the China her mother describes still exists. Are her mother's stories fact or f Excellent. The writer describes a world within a world - a Chinese village culture that has transferred to the US - the 'Golden Mountain'. The older generation see their current situation as unreal and temporary, the real world is the one they left behind, they are living in a world of ghosts.

The author is part of a younger generation struggling to understand a culture that isn't really hers. She is not sure whether the China her mother describes still exists. Are her mother's stories fact or fiction? What is real and what is superstition? Relatives tell the opposite of the truth as protection from the spirit world and the authorities - even real names are kept hidden. The truth is like shifting sand: Is the culture and language she knows actually Chinese?

The book was an eye opener. I really enjoyed being a 'fly on the wall' with the chance to experience a culture so different from my own from the 'inside'. I was immersed in this new way of thinking from the very first page and floundered for a while. But once past the culture shock, I really enjoyed myself. The language is at times poetic, wry, humourous and hard-hitting and captures the atmosphere of family life in various settings very convincingly.
Anjali
I hate that I had all these pre-conceptions about how I wasn't supposed to like book. I've heard it was "mean" or something, offensive to Chinese Americans, presenting a warped and bitter view of their culture which is mostly made up. Or else it's too "nice," making the suffering of people in China and immigrants look too picturesque, etc. etc. Well, maybe I'm kind of like this book - kind of a grouch and also kind of a people pleaser? too ethnic and not ethnic enough? - but when I finally got p I hate that I had all these pre-conceptions about how I wasn't supposed to like book. I've heard it was "mean" or something, offensive to Chinese Americans, presenting a warped and bitter view of their culture which is mostly made up. Or else it's too "nice," making the suffering of people in China and immigrants look too picturesque, etc. etc. Well, maybe I'm kind of like this book - kind of a grouch and also kind of a people pleaser? too ethnic and not ethnic enough? - but when I finally got past over-analyzing, second-guessing, and wondering whether the middle-aged women who get on the bus at Chinatown were judging me, oh my god y'all, I loved it.

Didn't find it hard to read. Didn't find it particularly bitter and angry (are all books by American women of color considered bitter and angry? hmmm.) Didn't think she was trying to speak for anything beyond her own lived/imagined experiences. The most offensive part of the book to me was the NY Times Book Review quote on the back cover where they're like, this book is about growing up Chinese-American "in a laundry OF COURSE." And where do white children grow up, NY Times?
Melissa Bond
When families have a rich social and cultural commentary for future generations, many times one is left to wonder who they truly are, and if those who once were really have any determination in the answer. Often ancestral history is told dramatically when one looks into the past to help embrace the future. Kingston’s portrayal of finding herself in an environment of warnings and superstitions is colorfully rich, especially in a culture where any disruption creates an even greater interpretation When families have a rich social and cultural commentary for future generations, many times one is left to wonder who they truly are, and if those who once were really have any determination in the answer. Often ancestral history is told dramatically when one looks into the past to help embrace the future. Kingston’s portrayal of finding herself in an environment of warnings and superstitions is colorfully rich, especially in a culture where any disruption creates an even greater interpretation of the future. As her declaration for identity is pursued, Kingston explores the chaos of living embedded in more than one culture, and more than one time. Along the way there is a disconnect that develops between the author & the reader. Suddenly the reader becomes a ghost, a spectator in the madness of oneness among the same. Not only does Kingston search for individuality in a much desired uncertain future, but also invites her readers, along with the rest of the ghosts, to watch her do it.
Tristan Goding
This was actually really cool. I thought the blending of the fantasy dream sequences and the stories of real life was really interesting, even if it wasn't always successful 100% of the time. There were some entertaining anecdotes about trying to retain one's Chinese heritage in a place where such a thing can be considered shameful, and there were points that got me thinking about the lives of others and the challenges of life that tend to test the nerves and the feelings of us all. There were a This was actually really cool. I thought the blending of the fantasy dream sequences and the stories of real life was really interesting, even if it wasn't always successful 100% of the time. There were some entertaining anecdotes about trying to retain one's Chinese heritage in a place where such a thing can be considered shameful, and there were points that got me thinking about the lives of others and the challenges of life that tend to test the nerves and the feelings of us all. There were a lot of important things that I was reminded of, whilst reading this book, and even though I can admit that much of the later parts of the book went over my head, there were some beautifully written passages in there. I'm not Chinese-American, so I can't say that the book spoke to me in terms of my own upbringing, but many of the feelings were quite understandable. I really liked this one.
Roxanne
Maybe it was because i had a somewhat high expectation to this book due to other peoples reviews or because i'm not as imaginative as i originally thought i was, because i became quiet impatient as to where the story was going. Firstly it took me a while to get this book finished and even though i was so close to giving up, i still tried because there are some parts where i was intrigued and fascinated, but for the rest, i can't even remember what happened.

Although i wasn't as impressed with 'T Maybe it was because i had a somewhat high expectation to this book due to other peoples reviews or because i'm not as imaginative as i originally thought i was, because i became quiet impatient as to where the story was going. Firstly it took me a while to get this book finished and even though i was so close to giving up, i still tried because there are some parts where i was intrigued and fascinated, but for the rest, i can't even remember what happened.

Although i wasn't as impressed with 'The Woman Warrior' as some people are, Maxine Hong Kingston was able to open my mind to what little i know about the way the Chinese, especially the women, viewed other cultures back then and how they must have felt as they tried to live in a country that was so foreign to them.

An odd but informative book filled with ghosts and stories, interesting but confusing at the same time.
Meghan Chin
The Woman Warrior is about five different stories. In "No Name Woman" -- the first story -- Kingston is told a story about her aunt. No one acknowledged Kingston's aunt because she disgraced the family by having a child when she wasn't supposed to. The aunt ended up killing herself and the baby in a well. And in "White Tigers" (the second story), Kingston imagines herself as Fa Mulan. "White Tigers" is about Kingston training and going into war disguised as a man. Later, she becomes a mother.

I The Woman Warrior is about five different stories. In "No Name Woman" -- the first story -- Kingston is told a story about her aunt. No one acknowledged Kingston's aunt because she disgraced the family by having a child when she wasn't supposed to. The aunt ended up killing herself and the baby in a well. And in "White Tigers" (the second story), Kingston imagines herself as Fa Mulan. "White Tigers" is about Kingston training and going into war disguised as a man. Later, she becomes a mother.

I didn't really like this book. This book is classified as a memoir, but a couple of parts were more fiction than memoir, which got me a little confused. Another reason why I didn't like this book was because it was boring in some parts -- I often found myself skimming through certain areas of the book. However, I liked how Kingston included Chinese culture throughout.
Baburhan
Kingston's woman warrior is a great work on socialization and gender. The book begins with a striking opening and draws a context and mood to read the rest. The dream parts are very carefully and masterfully written so that it gives the sensation of dreaming, where the boundaries between real and imaginery are blurred. Moon Orchid's experience in the United States and the trajectory of her character development is a breath-taking read!On the contrary to one might expect, the cultural differences Kingston's woman warrior is a great work on socialization and gender. The book begins with a striking opening and draws a context and mood to read the rest. The dream parts are very carefully and masterfully written so that it gives the sensation of dreaming, where the boundaries between real and imaginery are blurred. Moon Orchid's experience in the United States and the trajectory of her character development is a breath-taking read!On the contrary to one might expect, the cultural differences between China and the US are not essentialized and displayed in a black and white dichotomies. The writer sees the gray areas and takes the reader through these. To write such a beautiful socialization story, one has to experience it. I think this book can be a good reference for international readers and for those who travel a lot.
Elena Sala
The Woman Warrior is a complex and somewhat confusing memoir written by a first generation Chinese American woman who shares her feelings of displacement and frustration with her readers. It is not a traditional, linear autobiography.
Kingston focuses on the stories of five Chinese women told in five chapters. The stories combine Kingston's lived experiences with stories her mother told her, Chinese history, myths and superstitions. It is a book filled with stories about insanity and twisted logi The Woman Warrior is a complex and somewhat confusing memoir written by a first generation Chinese American woman who shares her feelings of displacement and frustration with her readers. It is not a traditional, linear autobiography.
Kingston focuses on the stories of five Chinese women told in five chapters. The stories combine Kingston's lived experiences with stories her mother told her, Chinese history, myths and superstitions. It is a book filled with stories about insanity and twisted logic.
I found the narrating voice quite irritating and I disliked her depiction of the Chinese culture. It is hard to believe that so many Chinese are freaks and weirdos as one should infer from her narrative.
This is an Identity Plot novel which has been incredibly successful but, to me, it looks dated and formulaic. And boring.
Neil Schleifer
Maxine Hong Kingston looks at her life as seen through the prism of those who have come before her in the stories of, among others, the legendary Chinese warrior woman Mulan; a defiant aunt who chooses a unique way to take autonomy over her teenage pregnancy; and her mother, a woman doctor in China forced to become a laundress in America. Through the refractions of their stories, and her own, Kingston questions her identity, letting ethnicity, language and issues of self-value all come into play Maxine Hong Kingston looks at her life as seen through the prism of those who have come before her in the stories of, among others, the legendary Chinese warrior woman Mulan; a defiant aunt who chooses a unique way to take autonomy over her teenage pregnancy; and her mother, a woman doctor in China forced to become a laundress in America. Through the refractions of their stories, and her own, Kingston questions her identity, letting ethnicity, language and issues of self-value all come into play in a series of episodes that help Kingston find her place.

This is exceptionally well-written, though I have heard from students that the episodic nature of the story-telling can be a little confusing. Still, I reccommend this highly.
Alyson Dickerman
Wondrous, poetic, sad, hopeful, and thrilling. I wish I hadn't waited so long to read this book. I am struck by how similar the experience of never truly knowing one's immigrant parent is to my own. My parents were expatriates, not really immigrants, and we didn't have to necessarily conform to a specific society and fear losing our own. At least, not me. I have no idea how my parents felt about it.
Of course, this is not only what Kingston's book is about. It is also about being a girl in a cult Wondrous, poetic, sad, hopeful, and thrilling. I wish I hadn't waited so long to read this book. I am struck by how similar the experience of never truly knowing one's immigrant parent is to my own. My parents were expatriates, not really immigrants, and we didn't have to necessarily conform to a specific society and fear losing our own. At least, not me. I have no idea how my parents felt about it.
Of course, this is not only what Kingston's book is about. It is also about being a girl in a culture that doesn't value them. Not even a little bit. How do you find self-worth if you are nothing more than a maggot?
I'll carry this book in my heart for a very long time.
Linda
This work of creative nonfiction is still a favorite of mine. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, the book captures the very complicated realities of being the Chinese American daughter of an immigrant Chinese mother. There is a fierce attachment between these two women, each independent and each shaped by a rich Chinese culture with gender codes that make achieving an American identity challenging. to say the least. I especially love the fantasy chapter, "White Tigers." It can take reade This work of creative nonfiction is still a favorite of mine. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, the book captures the very complicated realities of being the Chinese American daughter of an immigrant Chinese mother. There is a fierce attachment between these two women, each independent and each shaped by a rich Chinese culture with gender codes that make achieving an American identity challenging. to say the least. I especially love the fantasy chapter, "White Tigers." It can take readers by surprise, though, because the preceding chapters are traditionally realistic. It rewards the effort!
Jessica
This book bends genre like nobody's business, and I love it. On this edition, the front announces that it won an award for memoir, and the back of the book directs booksellers to shelve it in the fiction section. Yes!

Maxine Hong Kingston weaves the stories of her childhood in with imagined stories, Chinese myths, and tales that her mother has told her. The landscape she creates is one that is very true to childhood. Children, after all, do not make any kind of strict distinction between "reality This book bends genre like nobody's business, and I love it. On this edition, the front announces that it won an award for memoir, and the back of the book directs booksellers to shelve it in the fiction section. Yes!

Maxine Hong Kingston weaves the stories of her childhood in with imagined stories, Chinese myths, and tales that her mother has told her. The landscape she creates is one that is very true to childhood. Children, after all, do not make any kind of strict distinction between "reality" and "fantasy."
Julianne
I swear I read this when I was a teen? But if I did, oh man I had NO IDEA what I was reading back then. Required reading for Chinese daughters. Oh, the stories our moms tell us.... and how they become baked into the people we grow up to become...

I got my copy from my dad's bookshelf. He seems to have bought his copy used, from a person who was a perceptive reader with, thankfully, great and unobtrusive marginalia. (Woe to the person who reads my books after I'm done with them, what with all the I swear I read this when I was a teen? But if I did, oh man I had NO IDEA what I was reading back then. Required reading for Chinese daughters. Oh, the stories our moms tell us.... and how they become baked into the people we grow up to become...

I got my copy from my dad's bookshelf. He seems to have bought his copy used, from a person who was a perceptive reader with, thankfully, great and unobtrusive marginalia. (Woe to the person who reads my books after I'm done with them, what with all the WTFs and ?!?!s and NOs and EXCUSE MEs in my margins.)
Rebecca
I am late to this classic, and I am sorry for it. What an astonishing and versitile voice! Kingston's character is concretely specific, a product of a place and time distant and before my own, but she somehow still captured elements of my own Chinese-American childhood. The Cultural Revolution as a hushed and recurring motif; the pride and pain an American daughter feels for her immigrant mother; the shameful foreignness that grows between children and their parents, even as the space between fe I am late to this classic, and I am sorry for it. What an astonishing and versitile voice! Kingston's character is concretely specific, a product of a place and time distant and before my own, but she somehow still captured elements of my own Chinese-American childhood. The Cultural Revolution as a hushed and recurring motif; the pride and pain an American daughter feels for her immigrant mother; the shameful foreignness that grows between children and their parents, even as the space between fear and love diminishes. An angry, lonely, and eminently lovely book.
Lynda
Began feeling like a magic realism mental trip and evolved into biography. More than many books I've read, felt like stepping into the author's stream of consciousness and working, with her, on trying to sort out what's real and what's family legend about her own life. A worthwhile journey for an outsider to Asian culture, old and transplanted. I wonder if others raised in North America who experienced two realities -- theirs and their parents -- would react more strongly than myself. Either to Began feeling like a magic realism mental trip and evolved into biography. More than many books I've read, felt like stepping into the author's stream of consciousness and working, with her, on trying to sort out what's real and what's family legend about her own life. A worthwhile journey for an outsider to Asian culture, old and transplanted. I wonder if others raised in North America who experienced two realities -- theirs and their parents -- would react more strongly than myself. Either to empathize or reject the author's perspective.
Anita
Authentic voice of a Chinese woman, daughter of immigrants in California. The whole arc of immigrant experience is explored in a series of vignettes,, loosely related; the collision of cultures, stories, traditions and realities revealed through coming of age experiences of the narrator. My very favorite part of the whole book was "At the Western Palace" where Brave Orchid brings her sister, "Moon Orchid" over to reclaim Moon's "husband". There's a profound point to that story being that sometim Authentic voice of a Chinese woman, daughter of immigrants in California. The whole arc of immigrant experience is explored in a series of vignettes,, loosely related; the collision of cultures, stories, traditions and realities revealed through coming of age experiences of the narrator. My very favorite part of the whole book was "At the Western Palace" where Brave Orchid brings her sister, "Moon Orchid" over to reclaim Moon's "husband". There's a profound point to that story being that sometimes, it's just not possible to "adjust" or "adapt" to a different culture.
Amanda
I don't read a lot of memoirs... and this one is definitely different from most, in that at least half of it is storytelling and myths and fables, family history and superstitions. But it captures a feeling, an emotion, perfectly. The way the author's mother, and her relationship with her mother, are portrayed at different ages hits home, even though my past is obviously very different.

It's also a very quick, easy, fun read-- but the emotions are what make it awesome.
Jan
This is one of my all time favorite books. I've read it twice and I am considering reading it again. I have read everything that Ms. Kingston has published so I am kind of biased in that regards, but this is the first of her books that I ran across and have been a fan ever since. It has been some time since I read it so I will update this review after I complete my third reading.....that in itself should justify the five stars I've given it!!
David
I listened to this book on unabridged audio download while driving or exercising. This is the wrong way to experience this book. The narrative often zigzags between the world of legend and the world of mundane. If you miss a few moments while executing a particularly nerve-wracking left-hand turn, you will find yourself mumbling “Who are we talking about now?” So: read this book, study it, enjoy it. Just don’t listen to it. It probably deserves your undivided attention.
Gina
If you want a trip on magical realism that leaves you not quite sure what is literal and what is imagined, read this book. I felt like I was in an altered state almost the whole time I was reading it. Now I can't remember what it was about. It was about everything and nothing. Family. Emotions. Girlhood. Chinese emigration to America. A delicious escape of a novel.
S. Rosa
I loved this book because of how much I could relate, while still keeping myself and my experiences as an immigrant daughter separate from it. I read this in college, and it really spurred me to write much more clearly about my own cultural upbringing and how it brought with it some confusion and difficulties. I definitely enjoyed this book much better than Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.
Mike
What an extraordinary reading experience. Kingston's gorgeous ghost-story-cum-memoir weaves together her own experiences as a first generation Chinese American with her mother's stories of China, as well as the folk tale of Mu Lan, the titular woman warrior. It's all done seamlessly and with breathtaking grace and humor. Unforgettable.
John Eliade
An incredible classic about growing up an Asian woman in America. A very poetic and complicated novel. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but I encourage everyone to read it at least once. Be a brave reader!
Juliette Soleil
Just simply one of the books that changed my life - my perspective... I can't get enough of this fearless novel which so rawly explores the pain of female adolescence; I push it on to all of my friends.
Rosalie
I've been made to read the first story in this collection a few times in school, and "No-Name Woman" will always be burned in my brain. Essential feminist reading, essential child-of-immigrants reading, essential for those who are outwardly awkward with a strong inner voice.
angelica marie aragones lim
poetic and defining. Hong Kingston weaves between magical realism and important story telling to incorporate "talk story" from generations past and ultimately creates beautiful narratives of multi-generational asian experiences.
Nascha
Amazing book. I read it for the first time as a student in junior high and then again as an adult. Throughout the years, I've never forgotten some of the colorful and vivid passages written by Maxine Hong-Kingston. As an adult, I was able to appreciate it even further. I highly recommend it.
Claire
This was so poetic that I already regret rushing through it. (It was like being really hungry at a nice restaurant and realizing that you just scarfed down your food without really paying attention to the flavors.) I think I'd like to read this haunting mix of fact and fiction again, more slowly!
M.
love this! kingston does crazy interesting things by blurring the line between memoir and fiction/fantasy/myth, in so doing exploring the fog between the two 'genres' that seems to define chinese storytelling. beautifully written and deeply moving.
Tori (InToriLex)
While having wonderful imagery and history throughout, this was a not a book that kept my attention and its keeping me from many other noteworthy reads. This was a book club read I just could not get into

DNF
Ritz ☾
I've encountered it in two different academic settings-- and for good reason, there's a lot to unpack here. It's fantastic, and a book that definitely demands to be discussed.
William Porter
Kingston's haunting story "Woman Warrior" fact or fiction (untold) will send chills to your bones as she writes with conviction about childhood memories that are so vivid it took my breath away.
Jaclyn Day
Short, moving, rich. The intertwining of myth and reality is beautifully done. It’s not an easy read but rewards persistence. “No Name Woman,” the first story in the book, haunts me still.
Liesel Hamilton
Beautiful memoir. Different. Interesting. A wonderful examination of femininity from another culture.
Melissa Hagan
In our world today, men have many more advantages than women. In The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston realizes that women are not treated equally as men and women have limitations that men don’t.This compares to the world because today women want to be treated equal. Throughout the book Maxine structures her argument by explaining it throughout the stories she writes. The Woman Warrior is set from 1924-1975 from China and America. Kingston writes this autobiography adequately. All the aspects In our world today, men have many more advantages than women. In The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston realizes that women are not treated equally as men and women have limitations that men don’t.This compares to the world because today women want to be treated equal. Throughout the book Maxine structures her argument by explaining it throughout the stories she writes. The Woman Warrior is set from 1924-1975 from China and America. Kingston writes this autobiography adequately. All the aspects she has mentioned in her book on growing up were in chronological order and in a balanced fashion. The woman Warrior successfully captures the understanding that being a girl doesn’t mean to have to be limited.
The Woman Warrior follows the life stories and fantasies of Maxine Hong Kingston. Kingston goes through the challenge of being a Chinese American woman. Most importantly she struggles being a woman. In her story she gets belittled by her villagers and family members because she is a daughter.
In The Woman Warrior, Kingston tells many stories about her life and many of them have to do with her being limited because she is a woman. In this autobiography Kingston states ,'"When fishing for treasures in the flood, be careful not to pull in girls,' because that is what one says about daughters. But I watched such words come out of my own mother's and father's mouths; I looked at their ink drawing of poor people snagging their neighbors' flotage with long flood hooks and pushing the girl babies on down the river" (Kingston 52). People would say that because girls are considered useless and they can't carry on the family.Having a girl is pointless. Another part of the book Kingston says, “‘One girl-and another girl,’ they said, and made our parents ashamed to take us out together”’ (Kingston 46). Chinese people didn’t favor girls because they were considered worthless. When Kingston got a brother their parents had celebrations that Kingston didn’t which made her a little jealous.
The Woman Warrior Maxine goes through the stories of her life and the stories that were told to her. Maxine talks about how she wants to be like the character, Fan Mu Lan, because she was a strong woman who didn't let limitations stop her. Maxine goes deeper and talks about how she pushed through being belittled by her peers and live a successful life.
Rachel Jackson
I'm not particularly a fan of the heavy-handed memoirs that people sometimes write to prove they have grown as a person—you know, the ones that come rife with cheesy morals and sad stories about how the author came to those moral conclusions.

On the other hand, I'm also not a fan of books, particular memoirs from someone's life, that seem to have no point at all. The Woman Warrior falls into the latter category. Maxine Hong Kingston's "memoir," if it even can be called that, was a bizarre mix of I'm not particularly a fan of the heavy-handed memoirs that people sometimes write to prove they have grown as a person—you know, the ones that come rife with cheesy morals and sad stories about how the author came to those moral conclusions.

On the other hand, I'm also not a fan of books, particular memoirs from someone's life, that seem to have no point at all. The Woman Warrior falls into the latter category. Maxine Hong Kingston's "memoir," if it even can be called that, was a bizarre mix of personal anecdotes, traditional Chinese myths and third-person accounts of her families' experiences. This strange concoction of narrative choices did not work very well, and as a result The Woman Warrior was a fairly exasperating read.

Kingston's themes and voice had potential to tell an interesting story of her life growing up as a first-generation Chinese American girl, balancing a world between her parents' and grandparents' China and her own life as an American girl. She makes it clear that the story takes place during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution and includes the multitudes of Chinese immigrants fleeing from their home country to find a safer—physically, if not culturally—place to live. Set against a backdrop like this, you would think it would be easy to write a memoir detailing identity, family, hopes and dreams, etc. But Kingston didn't do nearly enough with that as she should have, instead choosing to write long-winded Chinese myths or waxing rhetorically about all the ghosts in her family history. It was all disappointing.

Easily my favorite part of The Woman Warrior was the chapter called "At The Western Palace," which told the story of Kingston's mother, Brave Orchid, reuniting with her sister, Moon Orchid, and trying to convince her to meet her long-lost husband who hadn't seen her in thirty years and had since married a new woman. That was the kind of story I appreciated, that of two geriatric Chinese women trying to navigate a ridiculous situation. I would have read much more about stories like that, semi-comical retellings of Kingston's family and their adjustment to American life, rather than bizarre, disconnected, pretentious stories about nothing.
Jessica Foster
3.5
Stretching the form of autobiography and writing of the self, Hong Kingston draws upon Chinese myth and fable to interweave personal and collective memory and story. In this book she confounds easy notions of genre, of diaspora fiction/non-fiction. She traverses stories of her family alongisde that of legend. She calls on the power of tradition to understand how she offsets that very tradition. An important book in these notions of life writing, self writing, the woman as writer, The Woman Wa 3.5
Stretching the form of autobiography and writing of the self, Hong Kingston draws upon Chinese myth and fable to interweave personal and collective memory and story. In this book she confounds easy notions of genre, of diaspora fiction/non-fiction. She traverses stories of her family alongisde that of legend. She calls on the power of tradition to understand how she offsets that very tradition. An important book in these notions of life writing, self writing, the woman as writer, The Woman Warrior will not allow itself to be aligned with any usual logic of autobiography and notions of the written subject. And at many times I was completely gripped--I loved the story of Fa Mu Lan, the woman warrior, how it blends with Maxine herself, how she calls upon this story to tell the story of the Chinese-American girl. There was a lovely haunting in this story, which pervades the entire book. It was saddening to read of her Aunt's trip to America for the first time, to understand that she would never fit in now as an older lady, to have her go mad when she realises her long estranged husband rejects her. I was shocked by Maxine's story of bullying another Chinese girl in America, pulling her hair and her voice, compelling her to talk, not to remain mute. She is, of course, willing it upon herself. These are collective stories but also highly particular--this is what Hong Kingston must straddle and where she garners academic criticism in trying to do so, this kind of writing always presents this impossible task. I will admit, that overall, however, the book is less compelling now than it would have been in the 70s but it does represent a major step forward in women writing the self--where once female autobiography was not seen as a legitimate female pursuit. With this decentering of self, the fracturing made by people like Hong Kingston, we now see so many women writers challenging the form.
Jennifer O'Kelly
Lately I have this problem where I feel like I am not "reading well". I need to swallow books in one fell swoop - otherwise my attention gets fumbled and I lose the sense of the thing that I am reading. I read 'The Woman Warrior' over the course of about a week and I still feel this way. As such, my thoughts here are very fragmentary and not really indicative of a consistent reading experience or the book's content as a whole.

Appropriately, one thing I did get out of my reading of this book was Lately I have this problem where I feel like I am not "reading well". I need to swallow books in one fell swoop - otherwise my attention gets fumbled and I lose the sense of the thing that I am reading. I read 'The Woman Warrior' over the course of about a week and I still feel this way. As such, my thoughts here are very fragmentary and not really indicative of a consistent reading experience or the book's content as a whole.

Appropriately, one thing I did get out of my reading of this book was an interesting view of spirit as attention; the presence of one's spirit as attentiveness. While retelling an experience her mother had at medical school, the author talks about how spirit can be lost when attention is scattered all around the world, and how the calling (by others) of one's "true name" can bring the spirit back home, but when we are not home, new rites must be found to call the spirit to where we are. Having just moved to (another) new city and struggling to tack attentiveness onto anything, this insight feels both incisive and instructive.

I also particularly enjoy the concept of "talking-story" - the blend of the fictional and fantastical into personal and cultural narratives in the telling of them.

I have seen mixed reviews of the rendering of Chinese-American culture in this book, and obviously cannot myself speak to accuracy or inaccuracy in this regard. The narration and tone were overall enjoyable. A good book, I think, the bones of which maybe got away from me.
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