Her Mother’s Voice is about the mother-daughter relationship and cultural conflicts. It is about a Chinese mother who is dying of cancer and her adult daughter, Emily. Emily consciously and unconsciously struggles with her Chinese identity due to her experiences of racism and alienation, growing up as a second generation Canadian in a mid-sized Ontario town. She struggles against being the good and dutiful Chinese daughter, yet finds herself playing this role. Consequently, she finds herself searching for a professional who can help cure her mother’s cancer. Western and Chinese medicine are pitted against each other.
In addition, she has been hiding her romantic relationships from her mother. Now with her mother dying, she is forced to face her fears and become open about her current relationship with a White Anglo-Saxon man. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What I liked most of all about “Her Mother’s Voice” is that it felt authentic. Having grown up with many friends who struggled balancing cultural heritage with what was “normal”, I related to Emily and her insecurities. Despite the self-doubt, Emily still shows strength through her tug-of-war and conflicted relationship with her mother. She still yearns to show the love they have for each other before time runs out.
Though I did not compulsively stay up to finish the book, I nonetheless enjoyed it and will be very interested to see future novels by Anna Woo. The reason this didn't get more stars is because I felt the writing needed a bit more polishing. In particular, it was written in the third person, but I felt would have been stronger from the first person.
Rating: 2 stars!
Who should read it? Folks interested in mother-daughter stories or Asian-American literature.