New Canadian Library and other Canadian Lit Challenge discussion

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2018 Reading Challenge > January: The Jade Peony

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message 1: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
A story told through the eyes of 3 children of a family in Vancouver's Chinatown in the 1930's-1940's. Through their voices, family life and traditions are shown as well as the struggles the family have during a time when the Canadian Government passed a law known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, July 1st 1923, a painful day in Canadian history. The children struggle to identify themselves in a country in which they were born but are considered alien residents.

This was Wayson Choy's first book.

Things to consider whilst reading:

1. What do you learn about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923?

2. What stories from the East are new to you and how are they part of the family's identity?

3. How do you feel about the traditional view of girls?

4. What are the roles of elders in the family and community? Is this better than the role they have today?


message 2: by Tara (new)

Tara Million I'm working on reading this right now and enjoying it so far. I'm about half way through and looking forward to finishing.

I've read a few other books that have traditional Asian families in them so I wasn't surprised by the attitudes towards 'useless girls' and the strong roles that the Old Ones play in the family. I like the background information about China and the Chinese immigrant experience that's woven into the story. I didn't realize how restrictive the railroad and other work contracts were. They seem very much like the indentured service contracts in the States.

In some ways this book reminds me of 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' which is a favourite read.


message 3: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (traceyrb) | 237 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "I'm working on reading this right now and enjoying it so far. I'm about half way through and looking forward to finishing.

I've read a few other books that have traditional Asian families in them ..."


I agree that it is a coming of age book like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.


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