Sunday, 19 October 2014

Wish You Happy Forever

By Jenny Bowen
In the summer of 1998, Jenny Bowen looked out her kitchen window onto her garden, and her life changed forever. Her 3-year-old daughter Maya, whom she and her husband adopted months earlier from an orphanage in China, had transformed from a frightened, sickly little girl to a joyous being thriving in an environment where she knew she was loved. Watching her daughter play, Jenny was overcome with the desire to help the orphaned girls she couldn’t bring home. And that’s when Half the Sky was born.

Wish You Happy Forever tells the story of China’s momentous progress in its treatment of orphaned and abandoned children. When Jenny began Half the Sky in 1998, determined to bring a caring adult into the life of every orphaned child, it seemed impossible that China would allow a foreigner to work inside government orphanages, let alone try to bring change. But gradually, after witnessing Half the Sky’s quiet perseverance and miraculous success, the Chinese government now not only trusts, but partners with Half the Sky to make life better for the children in its
5 stars.
I loved this book a lot, and not because I would be evil not to, but it helped prepare me for meeting my relatives in China, whom I had not seen for more than 4 years. It helped me see the Chinese--myself included--as people who care.
    Let me explain: I was born in the year 2000 in Guangdong province. I, a girl, was born without government permission(that's the story my mother used to tell me), and right there and then, my life, whether I lived or not, was dependent on one literally life-threatening choice.
    As you may have guessed from the fact that I am alive and live now live in Canada, my parents did not give me up for adoption--because no sane and able person would abandon their chid simply because they didn't not want her. And plus, my parents was able to afford the penalty fee, so I grew up knowing nothing about my ' other sisters', who were not so fortunate.
    Before I read this book, I knew that some Chinese couldn't support their child, but what was front and centre on my mind(and no, I did not spell centre wrong)was that China is an evil country and I was ashamed of being Chinese, and wanted no part in this. But whish You Happy Forever showed me that Chinese do care, do love, and that my grandparents may be nicer than my memory suggested.
   I read it, it helped, and I cried.

Three Months later...
    Well, my family is exactly as I remember them. My uncle (dad's brother) called me fat and told me to lose weight...on my birthday. Most family members from dad's side told me the same thing in one way or another, then criticized me for not eating enough or for not having a second helping of rice.
    But I liked the immediate family members from mom's side. they were nice. PoPo (granny) boils rich soup, and I consider my Uncle (mom's brother) as the best cook in the world( he cooks beef with cola--tasted really great).
    I also met 2 great people who I attended sewing classes with. They are open minded people that the world needs more of.

Thank you, Jenny and Dick Bowen, for all you've done.
Wish You All Happy Forever

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

(Shikisai o motoanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, kare no junrei no toshi)
Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine', and Oumi, ‘blue sea', while the girls' names were Shirane, ‘white root', and Kurono, ‘black field'. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

    Colourless Tusuku Tazaki is exactly as the summary said: a story of friendship. There was once a tightly knit group of five friends. All had colour in their name, all but one. Colourless Tazaki. Years later, the colourless one was rejected dejected pushed out of the group and into the sea. And he swam that ocean alone at night (that's a metaphor, by the way) in till the (possibly) love of his life helps him confront his past and find the answers as to what happened 16 years ago.
    The pace was slow and smooth and slightly calm and I loved it. The style of the story, I felt, was a bit unusual, but I liked it. The main character is your usual everyday single man with a troubled past he would like to put behind him. He has this fascination with trains and also designs train stations, which is cool...and unusual and slightly weird. And he considers himself colourless because he has nothing remarkable to offer to the group of friends nor the world other than train stations.
    The book was full of flashbacks, which, from what I've heard, is a signature move for Murikami. Tsukuru does confronts his past, and the results were very shocking.
    There were surprised and heart-pounding moments; bizzar, strange, painful, and WOW! moments; and there were moments where the past was revisited. And there was the end, which was incomplete. But, honestly, with everything that had occurred and the lids unscrewed from pot of secrets and memories, I was satisfied with it.
    There are writers who Tell and not Show, those who Show and not Tell, and there are those who Show and Tell.
    I received and ARC of this from Random House of Canada--thank you.