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2010 Book of the Month Reads > April: "Peony in Love" by Lisa See

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message 1: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
For discussions concerning April's book of the month Peony in Love by Lisa See.

message 2: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I liked this book. I read it 2 years ago and unfortunately don't think I'll recall enough of it to discuss it with the Yahoo group. But after reading this one, I know I'll want to read some of her other books!

message 3: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
I started Lisa See's other book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan but I never finished it. I'm not sure if I got bored or just got too busy with school to read it.

I've heard great things about the author, so I look forward to trying another book of hers.

message 4: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (last edited Apr 01, 2010 03:26AM) (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Would anyone be interested in writing a review on the author or this book for Lunch? The book review could be posted both here and at Lunch. I'm not sure when my copy is coming in from the library, so I might not finish in time to write my own review. You can also post "micro reviews," which are tweet length reviews on the book.

Who's reading or has already read this book?

message 5: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I've already read it. I can post a micro review at Lunch over the weekend.

message 6: by James (new)

James Mourgos (mourgos) I found a copy of Peony for 40 cents at Amazon through Goodwill. At the library I did not see this copy but did see the Snow Flower book. Not my cup of tea (no pun intended) but I'm willing to take a peek between the covers.

message 7: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
@CK: Thanks for posting the mico review, Cari! I noticed that they are called "quick tips" now. At first I thought it was an April Fool's joke, lol. Guess not.

@James: Cool! I can't wait to see what you think. My copy came into the library while I was away for Easter. I'm hoping to pick it up later today or tomorrow, so I can get started on reading it. :D

message 8: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Here are the discussion questions that Shelli posted in message #8984 at the Yahoo Cafe Libri.


1. First and foremost, Peony in Love is about love. What are the different kinds
of love that Peony experiences? How does Peony's love for Ren change through the
years? Have you had similar experiences in your life?

2. In what ways is mother love explored? How does it change from a mother's or
daughter's perspective? Do these things still hold true for mothers and
daughters today?

3. What does Peony learn about mother love and in what ways does she experience
it herself?

4. One thousand years ago, the poet Han Yun wrote, "All things not at peace will
cry out." What do you think he meant by that? And in what ways does this inspire
Peony and the other women writers in the novel?

5. In what ways does Peony long to be heard? Do you think women today are really
heard for who they are? In what ways have you tried to be heard?

6. What are the parallels between the lovesick maidens and girls with anorexia
nervosa today?

7. We see a difference in Peony's actions after Ze marries Ren and again after
Ze dies. Do you see redemption here for Peony?

8. Could you sympathize with Peony's actions in the years immediately following
her death? Which of the three wives do you sympathize with the most, and why?

9. What are the differences and similarities between the Chinese afterworld and
western concepts of heaven and hell? Which seem better? Which would you prefer –
for yourself and for your loved ones?

10. How does what happened during the Cataclysm change depending on who's
telling the story?

11. How do Peony's experiences as a living girl and then as a hungry ghost
parallel Liniang's experiences in "The Peony Pavilion"?

12. In what ways do you feel Peony's eyes were opened to the reality of her
father's real character?

13. Compare the actions of Peony's mother and grandmother after they meet in
death with their actions when they were alive.

14. Peony in Love shows the strength of women and women's companionship, but in
what ways does it also show the dark shadow side of women whether in the women's
chambers, between a mother and daughter, between wives, or even between friends?

15. The novel looks at the Chinese veneration of ancestors as well as the desire
to have sons. How are these two beliefs connected?

16. Lisa has written before about footbinding. What's the importance of
footbinding in this novel? What does Peony learn about life and love through her
experiences of footbinding? What do you think caused the change in Peony's
ability to assist in footbinding?

17. What role does the plum tree play in the opera of "The Peony Pavilion" and
in Peony in Love?

18. How are jealousy and envy addressed in the novel?

19. Were you surprised to hear about the women writers in China in the 17th
century? Do you think it's important that we know about them today?

20. Compare the roles of women in China in the 1600s to the roles of women in
the United States in the same period.

message 9: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (last edited Apr 22, 2010 05:04PM) (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Here is a video that CK shared at the Yahoo Cafe Libri Group about Peony in Love. Let us know what you think about the clip: China's Lovesick Maidens

message 10: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
I posted the average group rating for this book. If anyone else finishes it (including myself), I will change the rating if you let me know. Here it is as it stands currently:

Average rating by six members of Cafe Libri: 3.17

message 11: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
After much thinking, I wrote a review about "Peony in Love." It can be found at one of the following sites:


Lunch (along with a list of book quotes): or



Thanks for checking out my reviews, and please don't hesitate to let me know what you think! Feel free to rate any of them as useful too if you are a member of any of the sites. :)

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