Bonnie's Reviews > The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
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's review
Oct 18, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: historical-fiction, audiobooks, adult, z-2011, library-audio

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I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as I had hoped. The story was riveting; however, the characters were tremendously shallow, hard to understand, and extremely hard to like.

The Storyline
The story switches points of view between 1953 and 1942 when World War II has struck Hong Kong.

In 1953, Claire and Martin Pendleton, a recently married English couple, have moved to Hong Kong. Claire becomes a piano teacher teaching a young girl named Locket. Her parents, the Chens, employ Will Truesdale as their driver whom Claire eventually begins to have an affair with.

In 1942, Trudy Liang, a Eurasian, and Will Truesdale, an Englishman, are lovers. WWII strikes Hong Kong, Will ends up in a POW camp, and Trudy forms some treacherous alliances in order to keep him alive and as safe as possible.

The women in this story were borderline impossible to like. Claire’s ‘habit’ of stealing various items from the Chen household was the most strange and it was never really explained. There would just be occasional references to her dropping things into her purse… maybe it was explained, I may have simply missed it.

Everyone seemed to be enthralled with Trudy and I couldn’t understand why. She was charming in an overly obnoxious way and seemed to have quite a big head.

‘People have always expected me to be bad and thoughtless and shallow, and I do my best to accommodate their expectations. I sink to their expectations, one might say. I think it’s the ultimate suggestibility of most of us. We are social beings. We live in a social world with other people and so we wish to be as they see us, even if it is detrimental to ourselves.’

As the story progresses you get the whole story of what she ended up doing because of her love for Will and you can’t help but dislike her a little less, except not really. I had an emotional disconnect with this story and despite Trudy’s protestations of love for Will, I couldn’t see it. Essentially, I found Trudy’s actions to be more selfish than not, that all she did was to protect herself.

Bit of a disappointment from what I had anticipated.
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Reading Progress

October 18, 2011 – Shelved
October 18, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
December 5, 2011 – Started Reading
December 5, 2011 – Shelved as: audiobooks
December 5, 2011 –
page 2
20.0% "On Part 2. Quite good so far."
December 6, 2011 –
page 3
December 6, 2011 –
page 4
40.0% "So sad."
December 6, 2011 –
page 5
50.0% "Trudy is quite hard to like."
December 6, 2011 –
page 6
December 8, 2011 –
page 7
December 8, 2011 –
page 8
December 8, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 25, 2012 – Shelved as: adult
November 14, 2015 – Shelved as: z-2011
November 30, 2016 – Shelved as: library-audio

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Catrina (new) - added it

Catrina McColl Great review, since you've read the book, could you explain why Trudy had to die?! And why she was sent to be killed? Just a lil confusing

Bonnie Thank you!
hahaha I really can't recall, it's been so long.

message 3: by Catrina (new) - added it

Catrina McColl That's okay, I just read the book for my ISU in English, and I got the basics of the story, but some things I found confused, like do you remember if will knew Trudy was being a mistress to that guy, or did he believe she was just tutoring him? Lol

Bonnie I believe he might have known? And just chose to overlook it. I'm not certain.

message 5: by Catrina (new) - added it

Catrina McColl Yeah that's what I thought!! Why he had to kill her is lil odd!! Thanks for your help!! :)

Bonnie No problem! Wish I could remember it more. haha

Milena Stoyanova Exactly my impressions as well.It was not what I expected and a bit of a loss of time.

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