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

The Eighth Promise An American Son s Tribute to His Toisanese Mother 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 experienceIn The Eighth Promise a

  • Title: The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother
  • Author: William Poy Lee James Lee Poy
  • ISBN: 9781594864568
  • Page: 389
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 experienceIn 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 oIn 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 experienceIn 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 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.

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      389 William Poy Lee James Lee Poy
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    1 thought on “The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother

    1. I was skeptical when I first met William Poy Lee and heard him speak about his book. In fact, I wasn't even willing to put money on it; I went the library route. Another Chinese-American memoir? And with a title like that? But Mr. Lee writes cleanly and simply about two extraordinary lives -- his and his mother's -- skipping the mystical hoo-hah and emphasizing the American experience. His optimisim truly shines through and is truly refreshing, especially when so many other Chinese-American auth [...]

    2. My family also moved into the North Ping Yuen projects when they were brand new and moved out in 1969 to live the American dream of home ownership. I also attended Nam Kue Chinese school but years later. It excited me to read these similarities growing up in Chinatown. My parents were from villages in nearby counties to Toisan. Being younger than Lee and female, I think I led a very sheltered life and didn't pay too much attention to the violent Chinese gang crimes in Chinatown. I was aware of t [...]

    3. An Asian American odyssey with an edge, this tale is told in the alternating voices of a Chinese American son and his mother from Toisan County, Guangzhou, southern China. The Bay Area family embraces the toughness of their new life in America with a certain innocence and brash naiveté, until reality hits in an explosion of violence and systemic betrayal. William, his mother and his brother fight for their family's moral survival in the face of overwhelming odds, overcome their obstacles, and s [...]

    4. If you come from a Toisanese family, the themes of compassion and kindness are undenialably familiar. This is the first book I have EVER read by any Chinese American author that has been able to capture the essence of Toisanese culture, language, values and our way of being. I don't know why it took so long for a book like this to be published considering a huge percentage of Chinese in San Francisco are Toisanese or descendants of immigrants from Toisan.Lee beautifully weaves together the story [...]

    5. As a Canadian Born Chinese, I found the bits about the values and life in village of Toisan fascinating. Unfortunately the majority of the rest of the book just wasn't as interesting to me and if weren't for the the fact that I, myself, am Toisanese (which was why I picked up this book in the first place), I probably would not have forced myself to finish reading it.

    6. I heard author William Poy Lee speak about Tibet's recent unrest at a US-China Friendship program in August 2014 and purchase a copy of his 2007 memoir afterward. I had little expectations of good writing and an interesting story, but the book succeeds with both. This tale of a son of San Francisco Chinese immigrants from Toisan Canton China is written with honesty, a keen intelligence. The book serves as an excellent backdrop of the growing into adulthood of a young Chinese American activist in [...]

    7. A great story about one man and his mother - Chinese-Americans who fought to keep their culture and themselves in San Francisco after WWII. The story tells the triumphs and troubles of each generation, with heavy emphasis on the civil rights movement for Chinese-Americans that few probably know. A great story of family strength that exudes the unique culture so many new Americans have to share with their new home country.

    8. I found this book so fascinating! I loved the Chinese history (I studied Chinese in college so it had extra meaning to me). I also loved the San Francisco history which many times the Chinese are left out of. My favorite sections were when his mother and the other village women were being discussed. Those women had it figured out, and it left me longing for a return to the old village ways where every woman was considered a sister who was of high importance.

    9. Ann Arbor Reads selection for 2008, a facinating view of Chinese-American life in San Francisco, a mixing of cultures, and a very different way of looking at the world. The author spoke about his book and his philosophy here in Ann Arbor, introduced his elderly mother to the audience, and filled us in with details about the Lee family since the end of the book. An excellent writer and speaker, I have high expectations for his next book (already in progress).

    10. This was a fascinating book. The author's style is not very polished, and I would have liked to have heard more about his young adult life which is given little attention compared to his childhood. But somehow all of this just makes the story of life with his mother more poignant. Another book club suggestion which I never would have picked up on my own.

    11. In keeping with "The Namesake" this non-ficiton book explores the challenges faced by first generation immigrants. Keeping and respecting the old traditions, while immersing yourself in a new culture is quite a challenge. This book is the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads selection for this year and will be discussed in groups next year.

    12. it's about a toisan family, the parents from southern china and the kids grow up in the 60s-70s in SF chinatown. The older son wrote the book and he interviewed his mother, so every other chapter is in her voice. Pretty great to hear both and recognize some of the ways the mother coped with life in America over the years and passed traditions on to her sons. still reading it

    13. I agree with Marie. What a great book about a Toisanese family. I love the interweaving of the mother's recipes for soups with growing up in the tumultuous 60's. Since my mom's family has been in California since the 1890's, it was great reading what I felt was a bit of her and her siblings' and cousins' history coming of age in SF.

    14. To another person with family roots in Toisan, this was a moving book, offering insights on the immigrant experience, the assimilation process for Chinese in America, on Chinese parenting. It's a good reminder on how unjust White America once was not that long ago and a fascinating look at San Francisco Chinatown from the inside.

    15. I was interested in the book because my boyfriend's mom is from Toisan and I thought this would be a great way to learn more about her and where she came from. The book is a quick read and it is interesting to learn about all the experiences of the author, his mom, and the whole family. I did feel that certain points in the book were repeated too much but it has the makings of a good read.

    16. I actually never finished this book, it was so dull that I couldn't get into it and decided to cut my losses and return it to the library. The characters are not all that likable and nothing really happens, I would not reccomend this one.

    17. This was this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsi Reads title. It took me about 150 pages to really get into it, so I had mixed feelings. When we discussed it in book group, though, it was such a good discussion-provoking book. It really won me over.

    18. I found out about this book at the Asian Heritage Festival. Looks interesting. The review on the ad mentions that fans of Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston would like this book, and I do, so it's on my "to read" list.

    19. The first 100 pages were hot and cold. However, the second half makes up for it. I was also drawn to this book because of its focus on SF Chinatown. After recently reading Rice Room, this brought another interesting perspective to the Barry Fong Torres murder.

    20. I expected the book to be filled with references to Toisanese wisdom and customs. What I didn't expect was the stories of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 60's and 70's and the turmoil there.

    21. Quiet read. Was compelling and interesting. Kind of got thrown for a loop at the end when one major point seemed to be resolved without a mention how.Would recommend for sure.

    22. The story of a Chinese American family told back and forth by the mother and the son is gripping. It is so easy to ignore the prejudice in all walks of life and the tragedy that can occur.

    23. this book was chosen as the latest ann arbor/ypsi reads book. i, unfortunately, gave up after about 4 chapters. if you have better luck with this book, let me know.

    24. Good story, good history of a time/place many of us have no understandig of. Actually would give a 3 1/2 star rating.

    25. The author links his mother's youth in an ancient Chinese fishing villiage, to his own youth in San Francisco's Chinatown.

    26. I just finished this book and it was one of the best I've read in years. Very moving, thought provoking and extremely well written.

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