Holyn's Reviews > White Ghost Girls

White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway
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's review
Aug 13, 2009

really liked it

I finished this book last night and am still attempting to put my feelings/thoughts into words. I saw this on the clearance rack at Borders and almost passed it by until I saw Isabel Allende (my most favorite writer) had actually reviewed the work so I bought it.....

White Ghost Girls is set in 1960's Hong Kong. The narrator is a 13-ish year old girl - Kate - whose family is living there because her father is a war photographer in Vietnam. He visits every six weeks and the rest of the time Kate lives with her mother, 16-ish year old sister Frankie, and Chinese amah - Ah Bing. It covers one breif summer in the life of these characters. It's a tumultuous summer of intense fighting in Vietnam, the growing presence of the Red Army in Hong Kong, and the molting of innocent childhood for Kate and Frankie.

Although written in prose style the book feels like poetry and each chapter is like a snapshot of the family's life. It is also an interesting look at life in southern Asia during the Vietnam war and Mao's rise to power in China.

This book is beautiful, haunting, and well, words fail me I am afraid. Read it and let me know what your thoughts are.....

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Amber Berry Mao had been in power since 1949, so it really isn't about Mao. There were sympathizers, but the majority of the Chinese population had left China because of the Communist takeover. - The cultural bits are backdrop to the family story.

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