A million female foetuses are aborted and tens of thousands of baby girls are abandoned every year in China. The desire for a male heir has clashed with the Chinese one-child policy to form a society where the birth of a girl is seen as a disappointment. This book gives the painful story of the mothers who abandoned or murdered their babies.
The book consists of ten short stories, each explaining the circumstances of a different mother. I found the introduction detailing the statistics and background of the Chinese traditions very interesting, but the short stories were a disappointment. The writing contained some scenes that should have been very distressing, but the emotional connection wasn’t there and each story was too short for me to fully understand the implications of keeping the baby girl.
It seemed as though the book was packed with one abandonment/murder after another and the repetitiveness reduced the impact of the message.
It is clearly a difficult and emotive subject, but I think this BBC news report does a better job of getting the seriousness of the situation across. Perhaps my problems with short stories are the main cause of my disappointment with this book? I would have preferred it to focus on one story and to have seen the problems faced by a family that decided to keep their a girl.
This is the first book by Xinran that I’ve read. Do you think I’d enjoy any of her earlier books?