Liralen's Reviews > The Great Call of China

The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu
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Sep 09, 2014

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bookshelves: z-2014, asia, fiction, reviewed, travel, ya

I'd love to know how much direction the authors were given for this series. Was the directive just study-abroad in China, or was it Chinese-American studies abroad in China and tries to reconnect with her biological parents?

I'm curious in part because -- and this is commentary on the series, not on this book specifically -- I find the whole thing rather whitewashed. Yes, it's probably true that white students make up the bulk of study-abroad participants from the U.S. But...it's disappointing to look at the series list and note that 1) 9 of the 14 books take place in Europe (plus one in Australia and one on a pretty white-bread semester at sea), 2) 12 of the 14 heroines appear to be white, and 3) the two Asian protagonists (and only the two Asian protagonists) are doing a semester abroad in part as a way to get in touch with their heritage.

It's possible -- even likely -- that the individual authors didn't have much forewarning about the other authors' books, but it seems like a lapse on the part of the publisher.

Anyway. Back to the book at hand: Cece is spending a semester in China, where she hopes to learn a lot about anthropology -- her passion -- maybe break out of her work-hard persona a bit...and of course see if she can find out who her biological parents are and why they gave her up for adoption.

A number of things work here: Cece's interest in anthropology, and the intensity of her programme, means that we get a lot of tidbits about Chinese history and culture. Unlike certain S.A.S.S. heroines I could mention, Cece spends a fair amount of time with people from China, not just other exchange students. She manages to figure out a lot about herself over the course of the book, as do some of the other characters.

The stereotyping was weird, though. It was a little like the book was throwing out a stereotype, shouting Aha! A stereotype!, chuckling indulgently at the reader, and...carrying on. I don't know what to make of it, really. And the resolution with Cece's search was way too good to be true.

But hey. Expect fluff, get fluff. These books don't claim to be anything else.


More general look at the series here.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 9, 2014 – Shelved
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: asia
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: ya

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