My Elder Sister recommended this book to me ages ago, and I’ve had it out of the library before and had to return it before reading it, so this time when the due date (tomorrow) rolled around and I had yet to pick it up till yesterday, I was determined to get ‘er done.
This book was (obviously) a nice quick read, and easy to get into, and I loved learning about the old Chinese culture, frustrating and airless as it may have been. The female characters were vivid, despite living out the vast majority of their lives in upper chambers, busy embroidering and chatting, unable to walk far and having no place outside the home even if they could. The description of footbinding will set your teeth on edge and make you curl your toes and wonder how your foot could be convinced to be a mere 7 cm long, while at the same time you feel your unaltered feet suddenly do look like “flapping fish, freshly caught”. The rules surrounding the proper way of doing absolutely everything are mind-boggling, as is the placid acceptance of women of their fate. The description of the use of “nu shu”, a language known only to women, was interesting to my linguistics side, as it is the only record of any such language in history.
I had no idea this is now a major motion picture! If they include the sound of all those little girls’ toes snapping under their own body weight, I’m out. But I do recommend reading the book, and if you’re of a stronger stomach when it comes to watching suffering, watch the movie and let me know what it’s like.
This video gives an interesting take on footbinding…