Friday, September 19, 2008

Three Women Break Stereotypes in China Dolls

M.J. Wyn, a successful sportswriter with dreams of interviewing the likes of Michael Jordan and other superstars of the sports world, finds herself in the middle of the male dominated industry and attempts to break stereotypes to obtain her goals; Alex Kwan, a very competitive lawyer, finds herself questioning her morals and limits to succeed where men are recognized as superior negotiators; Lin Cho, a wealthy stock broker and member of a highly successful investment team, has to decide on accepting the challenge of working in London or staying in New York with the possibility of true romance within view. All three woman are successful, all three are Chinese, and all three fight the same stereotypes in their respective industries but can all three still achieve their desires, their dreams, and yet keep their personal connections intact?

In China Dolls, Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan take readers through the world of Chinese stereotypes, traditions, and glimpses into the lives of Chinese families. The characters struggle to keep their family bonds while trying to handle a constant barrage of racially biased speeches and browbeating by family members and long time Chinese friends. Yu and Kan have written each character description as if they were sitting on the stools, in the cubicles, or the loge seats right next to the characters ingesting every nuance of their personalities. This gives readers a great image into the minds of each character and the ease to follow the cultural complexities explained in the story.

M.J., Alex, and Lin seem to be best friends but their personalities clash throughout the book giving an added piece of inner turmoil for each to face in their own way. This adds to the question of their friendships being maintained through all the hardships, arguments, and obstacles placed before them by being Chinese and female in a world which frowns on situations the three main characters face in China Dolls.

As someone who rarely reads books other than science fiction and fantasy I was intrigued by the blurb on the cover about M.J. being Chinese and a sports reporter so couldn’t pass up a new subway time read like China Dolls. Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan did a great job piecing together the three lives and connecting them in more facets than I imagined I would read in such a short book (278 pgs.). They also added a balance of old world and modern day Chinese culture, which allowed most of the background characters to remain influential to the lives the main characters. The story contained a good amount of humor from some of the phrases Lin’s mother Kim says to banter between colleagues and many comically embarrassing moments for M.J., Alex, and Lin.

As mentioned before there are predictions made by a psychic as to the futures of M.J., Alex, and Lin but I’ll leave that part to intrigue those of you reading this review into getting the book. I definitely recommend China Dolls but suggest taking it at a slower pace than most books. There are plenty of characters to read about from ex-boyfriends to relatives galore and one sentence read wrong can throw you completely into confusion.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have and will look for more books in the future from Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan.

If you’d like to read a Q&A of Michelle and Blossom then head on over to their official China Dolls site:Official China Dolls Site

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