My personal belief is that some books wait for us to come along and discover them they lie quietly, patiently, waiting for years maybe for the correct moment in our lives to be found. This book is one of them for me. I'll admit if I was to have read this book say 20 years ago I probably would not have enjoyed it so much or been able to appreciate the philosophical deepness of it. This book felt like it had waited for me to pick it up at just the right moment. I don't think I have ever read a book that has touched me in such a personal way as this one has.
Madame Wu lives in two worlds one of the "old ways" and yet she is a very modern thinker of the new. When I first started reading this story I felt a little put off by Madame Wu and how she strived to be so perfect so in control of everything she did. For the first time ever I actually felt a little jealous over a fictional character. I have read a lot of books that made me feel many emotions but never envy. She had me stopping and thinking as to how I measured up as a wife and mother and maybe as a human being in general. As the story progresses we begin to see the real person that Madame Wu is she has reached the age of 40 and now she feels that she wants her time to do what she wants to do. She's done with bearing children and keeping her husband entertained and happy she's done her duty running a household and keeping everything in order and everyone satisfied. She wants a life of her own she wants to feel free to read books and to be herself and do the things she was never able to do.
And so begins her plan if I can make everybody happy in the family then they will all go off into their own worlds and leave me alone to be in mine. Madame Wu was torn with a tough decision as to what to do about her husband if she continued to have sex with him she could find herself pregnant past forty. She also knew that if she refused him he'd just go down to the local flower house and take care of it himself so she makes a drastic decision against her friends and family's opinions and decides on a concubine. Will just fix Mr. Wu up with a nice girl of my choosing and then after everything settles down I can start my life or at least that's how the plan was suppose to work out.
Slowly disaster after disaster arises and the family is thrown into chaos. She starts to study with Brother Andre a tutor she hired for her third son and he opens up her mind to a whole new way of thinking. Madame Wu comes to fully realize the complicated bonds between men and women are not so easily arranged and maybe in a way men and women are not so different, that we all need to feel love and be happy to achieve our highest potential.
With wit, humor and layer upon layer of thought provoking dialogue author Pearl S. Buck is able to transcend time between the past and the present. This story makes you look at the relationships between men and women with a whole new appreciation.