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The Astonishing Color of After
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East Asia > The Astonishing Color of After spoilers allowed

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message 1: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4532 comments Mod
This is the spoilers allowed thread for the young adult winner of the May 15-July 14 group read, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan


message 2: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa (lisafriel) | 11 comments To be honest - about 2/3 through the book, I was considering putting it down. Interesting story, but it wasn't grabbing me. The last bit really got me though. I do love magical realism so I enjoyed finding out about Feng and that Alex had not sent those e-mails. I ended up giving this book 4 stars.


Margaret | 3761 comments Mod
I'm glad you ended up enjoying it! I liked it at the very beginning, but some of the middle did strike me as a bit boring, mainly because I didn't find the teen drama between Leigh and Axel to be nearly as interesting as what was going on in Taiwan, or with her mother in those past memories.

I loved the twist with Feng. I didn't anticipate it.

I couldn't always tell what was going on with the magical realism affects -- the decaying house? -- but I loved the bird. And of course, Feng. The emails too.

Did the father annoy you? I wanted to shake him sometimes.

Did you read the writer's afterward? She said in the first drafts she didn't have the mother's suicide in it at all. It was simply a story about being a second generation Taiwanese American, and returning to Taiwan. But after a family member committed suicide, she realized what the story was missing. It took her 6 years to write total (if I'm remembering correctly).

Can you imagine what a radical reversal that was? The first draft must look like a completely different novel.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "Did the father annoy you? I wanted to shake him sometimes. ..."

Okay, I'm not too far into it - just 15% but... Wow. The dad is a terrible father.

He believes his daughter has been having hallucinations.
He then takes his daughter with him to Taiwan, where he knows she doesn't speak the language.
Then with no advance notice or planning, he leaves his daughter with relations she doesn't know and cannot communicate with, and a vague promise of "I'll get you a phone card."

And all this, so he says, is because decades ago he made a promise to his deceased wife?!

Shouldn't his responsibility to his living daughter and her mental health outweigh those promises?


Does this ever get explained better?


Margaret | 3761 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Does this ever get explained better?."

Nope.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Hm. Then I wonder if this is a remnant of the addition of the mother's suicide?

If this scene was originally with all 3 of them visiting Taiwan, then the mom & the grandparents fighting, and then the parents taking off but leaving the daughter behind for a few weeks, that would make a bit more sense.

Still wouldn't be the best parenting, but it'd be a little more acceptable.


message 7: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4532 comments Mod
It's sounds if anything, that this book is thought provoking!
If it had not come at the same time as many other library books I still would have given it a try!


Margaret | 3761 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Hm. Then I wonder if this is a remnant of the addition of the mother's suicide?

If this scene was originally with all 3 of them visiting Taiwan, then the mom & the grandparents fighting, and then..."


It could very well be. It would be interesting to read about what changed and what stayed the same between drafts.


Margaret | 3761 comments Mod
Sometimes, I feel like YA novels make up reasons for the parents to disappear. Sometimes the reasons work, sometimes not. I think Leah has complained about it before.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Sorry guys. I'm throwing in the towel on this one.

The more I read it, the more it annoys me.

It's just way too teenagey for my tastes right now.


Margaret | 3761 comments Mod
That's how it goes sometimes.

I did enjoy it, so I hope some others read it!


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