Thursday, April 21, 2011

National Poetry Month: Tofu Quilt

Tofu QuiltTofu Quilt Ching Yeung Russell

Secret Wish

I remember Mr. Hon
once said that
a person should see more things
and open his eyes
if he wants to write a good story.

Ma cannot afford to send me off
to see things.
So I decide that
when I grow up,
I will not marry a doctor,
or a lawyer,
or a teacher,
or a businessman.
I will marry
a bus driver,
who can drive me everywhere
to see the world
and it will be

And he must look like
Mr. Hon.

Tofu Quilt is a semi-auto-biographical verse novel about growing up in Hong Kong in the 50s and 60s and wanting to become a writer. Most of the poems focus on her relatives insisting that she shouldn't have big dreams or so much education, because she's a girl (her mother very much disagrees and insists that boys and girls are the same), reading books, or her trails and tribulations with various writing teachers over the years.

There isn't much of a plot, but it is a nice book especially for its pictures into day-to-day life in mid-century Hong Kong. The book shines when Ying is listening to the old ladies gossip at the end of the day or describing the flower market or the foreign tourist taking photos of drying laundry.

ARC Provided by... the publisher for review consideration

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