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From the age of six Weili feels the pangs of separation, when her beloved mother leaves her. The way Weili is treated is very different from the treatment meted out to her cousin, Peanut. Weili had considered marriage to be a better option than staying in Tsungming Island. But marriage to an arrogant man like Wen Fu proves to be absolutely disastrous.

The Kitchen God's Wife Summary

Her remarriage to Jimmy Louie does not solve her problems either. The character of Weili is that of a strong-willed woman. From an innocent teenager, the circumstances force her to become a bold woman. Antagonist : The antagonist in the novel is Wen Fu, the first husband of Weili. Wen Fu is an opportunist.


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In the initial days of marriage, he pretends to be gentle to Weili but within a few days he shows his true colors. The position he accords to his wife is no better than a prostitute. Weili considers him to be the devil himself. Every night Wen Fu subjects Weili to utter humiliation. Wen Fu is extremely violent to her. He rapes her and then compels and tortures her to make her say that she is sex-starved and needs him badly.

In spite of all this, initially Weili tries to be a good wife to him. But when he continues to humiliate and degrade her and is also responsible for the deaths of her children, she decides to leave him. I found this push and pull so real. You want good things for your friends, but you never want them to be too successful or too happy. LOL Another great character was Auntie Du, who is an older woman with no husband he died and no money. But she turns out to be this lovely hero, whom I just wanted to hug.

What a great character! Tan takes you a different world and a different culture, but makes it familiar simply by introducing you to these fascinating and flawed women. Problems I had with this book were the slow parts.

I really hated him, which is good for a villain. I think Tan revealed way too much of the ending in the beginning when Pearl is telling her story. Having Winnie go back and explain how things led up to where she was in the present, when you already know the outcome, kills a lot of the suspense. But all in all, I enjoyed this a lot. View all 16 comments. Apr 11, Elyse Walters rated it it was amazing. I read this when it came out -- I thought I had written a review --no?

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It's holding - all these years later -a lasting wonderful reading impression. The culture -the relationships: struggles and love -the foods - it was all delicious. View all 7 comments. Mothers and daughters nearly always keep secrets from each other.

Kitchen God's Wife

But at some point in life the secrets need to be told Winnie, Pearl's mother, faces this dilemma. Winnie's dearest friend Helen is threatening to tell Pearl all of the secrets of Winnie's early years in China. So Winnie decides to tell Pearl her life story before Helen does. Because of course Helen would not tell it correctly anyway. But Pearl has a secret of her own. Will hearing her mother's secrets give h Secrets.

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Will hearing her mother's secrets give her the courage to share hers? This book was sometimes quite painful to read.

Readers who are overly sensitive to scenes of abuse of any kind may not be able to deal with parts of this story. We see what Winnie lived through because of her arranged marriage to a complete jerk; and from the war in China in the 's and 40's. She suffered immensely but did have a few triumphs at times and somehow held onto a deep-down core of strength that perhaps surprised even herself. Chance is the first step you take, luck is what comes afterward.

But you have to have the courage to take that first step, and trust that the luck will follow your path. I think Winnie did this the best way she could. I hope Pearl learns to do the same. I promised my mother that I would take her this book in May. She recently discovered Tan's work when she read The Bonesetter's Daughter.

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We are planning a book swap. It will be fun to discuss them after reading, because we have discovered a bit of a secret between ourselves lately. Every so often we both actually like the same books! Maybe that means one or the other of us is getting older and smarter? View all 8 comments. Aug 14, Julia rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: mothers and daughters. Shelves: readitandlovedit. View 1 comment. Sep 22, Mariah Roze rated it really liked it.

This book is an extremely short read. I read it in less than 24 hours while working and going to school. The story takes a huge turn when Winnie shares what her life was like in China. This is a sad, but eye-opening story that is definitely realistic fiction! Oct 29, Jennifer Cole rated it it was amazing. What I learned from this book--my favorite part: "Isn't that how it is when you must decide with your heart? You are not just choosing one thing over another. You are choosing what you want. And you are also choosing what somebody else does not want, and all the consequences that follow.