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1 Burnside Ethnic Studies- Asian American

The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother

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The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the best-selling tradition of The Color of Water comes a beautifully written, evocative memoir of a relationship between a mother and son; and the Chinese-American experience

In The Eighth Promise, author William Poy Lee gives us a rare view of the Asian-American experience from a mother-son perspective. His moving and complex story of growing up in the housing projects of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1960s and '70s unfolds in two voices; the author's own and that of his mother's to provide a sense of tradition and culture. It is a stunning tale of murder, injustice, fortitude, and survival. Already, this exquisitely wrought memoir is garnering rave notices.

Review:

"While many immigrants are focused on assimilation, Lee's mother, Poy Jen Lee, came to America with a different agenda. In 1948, Poy Jen agreed to leave Suey Wan, her Toisan village in the Pearl River delta of China, to come to America as the wife of a Toisanese-American man. Before leaving, she made eight promises to her mother, among them that she'd find good husbands for her sisters and arrange immigration papers for her mother and brother; teach her children Chinese and Toisan customs, so they'd know their heritage; keep clan sisterhood strong; and cook traditional medicinal soups. The eighth promise bound Poy Jen to the fundamental Toisan ethos, 'to live her life in complete compassion' for all people—her family, her Chun clan sisterhood and her larger community. In this remarkable memoir, mother and son, in alternating chapters, tell the story of their life in San Francisco's Chinatown from the 1950s to the present. Between American racism and power struggles in the Chinese community, it's a tribute to Toisan endurance that Poy Jen not only held her family together but also brought her children back to China to fortify their clan connection. Fans of Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston shouldn't hesitate to embrace this formidable matriarch and the son she taught to cook her chi soups. Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"While many immigrants are focused on assimilation, Lee's mother, Poy Jen Lee, came to America with a different agenda. In 1948, Poy Jen agreed to leave Suey Wan, her Toisan village in the Pearl River delta of China, to come to America as the wife of a Toisanese-American man. Before leaving, she made eight promises to her mother, among them that she'd find good husbands for her sisters and arrange immigration papers for her mother and brother; teach her children Chinese and Toisan customs, so they'd know their heritage; keep clan sisterhood strong; and cook traditional medicinal soups. The eighth promise bound Poy Jen to the fundamental Toisan ethos, 'to live her life in complete compassion' for all people — her family, her Chun clan sisterhood and her larger community. In this remarkable memoir, mother and son, in alternating chapters, tell the story of their life in San Francisco's Chinatown from the 1950s to the present. Between American racism and power struggles in the Chinese community, it's a tribute to Toisan endurance that Poy Jen not only held her family together but also brought her children back to China to fortify their clan connection. Fans of Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston shouldn't hesitate to embrace this formidable matriarch and the son she taught to cook her chi soups." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Poses questions that are eternal.....Who are we, having left the land of our ancestors and settled among others similarly displaced? How do we find 'home' in the present when the past meant a thousand years in the same place? In this unusual and wise, insightful and healing memoir, William Poy Lee explores territory that reflects and intrigues us all. Alice Walker

Review:

"One of the very few books that completely conveys a life as lived from the inside and makes us as readers feel we are living it too." Gloria Steinem

Synopsis:

Lee pens a beautifully written, evocative memoir of a relationship between a mother and son — and the Chinese-American experience — in this moving and complex story of growing up in the housing projects of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1960s and '70s.

About the Author

William Poy Lee, formerly an architect and now a lawyer, lives in Berkeley, California. This is his first book.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594864568
Subtitle:
An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother
Author:
Lee, William Poy
Publisher:
Rodale Books
Subject:
Mothers and sons
Subject:
Mothers
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Ethnic Cultures - General
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Chinese americans
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070206
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A-)<br><br>"<i>The Eighth Promise</i> is a lively
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.58 x 6.25 x 1.27 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Asian American

The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Rodale Press - English 9781594864568 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "While many immigrants are focused on assimilation, Lee's mother, Poy Jen Lee, came to America with a different agenda. In 1948, Poy Jen agreed to leave Suey Wan, her Toisan village in the Pearl River delta of China, to come to America as the wife of a Toisanese-American man. Before leaving, she made eight promises to her mother, among them that she'd find good husbands for her sisters and arrange immigration papers for her mother and brother; teach her children Chinese and Toisan customs, so they'd know their heritage; keep clan sisterhood strong; and cook traditional medicinal soups. The eighth promise bound Poy Jen to the fundamental Toisan ethos, 'to live her life in complete compassion' for all people—her family, her Chun clan sisterhood and her larger community. In this remarkable memoir, mother and son, in alternating chapters, tell the story of their life in San Francisco's Chinatown from the 1950s to the present. Between American racism and power struggles in the Chinese community, it's a tribute to Toisan endurance that Poy Jen not only held her family together but also brought her children back to China to fortify their clan connection. Fans of Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston shouldn't hesitate to embrace this formidable matriarch and the son she taught to cook her chi soups. Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "While many immigrants are focused on assimilation, Lee's mother, Poy Jen Lee, came to America with a different agenda. In 1948, Poy Jen agreed to leave Suey Wan, her Toisan village in the Pearl River delta of China, to come to America as the wife of a Toisanese-American man. Before leaving, she made eight promises to her mother, among them that she'd find good husbands for her sisters and arrange immigration papers for her mother and brother; teach her children Chinese and Toisan customs, so they'd know their heritage; keep clan sisterhood strong; and cook traditional medicinal soups. The eighth promise bound Poy Jen to the fundamental Toisan ethos, 'to live her life in complete compassion' for all people — her family, her Chun clan sisterhood and her larger community. In this remarkable memoir, mother and son, in alternating chapters, tell the story of their life in San Francisco's Chinatown from the 1950s to the present. Between American racism and power struggles in the Chinese community, it's a tribute to Toisan endurance that Poy Jen not only held her family together but also brought her children back to China to fortify their clan connection. Fans of Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston shouldn't hesitate to embrace this formidable matriarch and the son she taught to cook her chi soups." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Poses questions that are eternal.....Who are we, having left the land of our ancestors and settled among others similarly displaced? How do we find 'home' in the present when the past meant a thousand years in the same place? In this unusual and wise, insightful and healing memoir, William Poy Lee explores territory that reflects and intrigues us all.
"Review" by , "One of the very few books that completely conveys a life as lived from the inside and makes us as readers feel we are living it too."
"Synopsis" by , Lee pens a beautifully written, evocative memoir of a relationship between a mother and son — and the Chinese-American experience — in this moving and complex story of growing up in the housing projects of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1960s and '70s.
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