Book Title: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
Author: Lisa See
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Excellent book. Loved it!
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an un-biased review.
I ought to know better by now. Don’t start a new Lisa See book right before bed. In fact, don’t bring a Lisa See book anywhere near your bed. You will never get to sleep on time. I stayed up so late last night reading this book that I fell asleep while I was reading. I was awakened by my kindle falling onto my face when my hands relaxed. Don’t laugh, you know you’ve been there.
This was an engrossing read. It was a gentle, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book. A young girl named Li-yan is part of the Akha people living in rural China. They are considered an ethnic minority and are very isolated from modern lifestyles. Her family’s life revolves around their traditions and heritage, and the growing of tea. Li-yan, on the other hand is different. She has aspirations, she is intellectually curious, bright and kind hearted. Unfortunately, she becomes pregnant out of wedlock and this is what drives her story.
It’s a wonderful book. About the ties of family, heritage, tradition , culture and how those things bind us to each other. Our shared story, our love for one another, are like roots that anchor us while we travel through life. They give us stability and are invaluable. I’m so envious. My family is a multi-generation American family. We have roots in Spain, France and Italy and also part of the Native American tribes of New Mexico and Arizona. My family has moved on from the reservation so long ago that no one alive remembers anymore what it was like, the details of our customs, language or who our people were. Somewhere along the line, we assimilated. To my mind, it’s a terrible thing. I suppose that’s one reason why I love Ms. See’s books so much. They are rich and full of life, full of people who are able to retain their connection with the past.
I also can be sure that I will always learn something new from a book by Ms. See. My favorite, Peony in Love, taught me about Chinese opera and the Chinese afterworld. It is a beautiful, poetic book. From Shanghai Girls I learned about the awful Nanking atrocities, Angel Island and the immigrant experience in California. The second novel in the Shanghai Girl series, Dreams of Joy, taught me a great deal about the Cultural Revolution in China and the Great Leap Forward. Both of those books are tragic and wonderful.
I was so thrilled to receive this book from the publisher. I knew I would enjoy it. I’m quite sure I’ll be reading it again in the future. Don’t hesitate to read it too if you enjoy Women’s Literature or books about China.
Bonus Link: After reading about the Akha people and hearing descriptions of their headdresses I had to see what it was all about. Please visit this site for more details and pictures!
Song for this book: Somewhere Only We Know – Lilly Allen