The Houseful Reads: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl – Yiyun Li

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Last month, I read a couple of books and this one was one of them. Yep, that’s how my lead in sentence is going to start out. I’m not sure if I would have picked this book up in the library if it had not been the book discussion book for this month, or the One Book, One Chicago pick for the Spring season.  Let’s see if I can correctly relate what it was about.

First of all, it’s not one long novel, but a series of nine short stories about individuals living in China from the 1970 to present day. Most often, they are remembering past situations, but they are all sad for some reason or another.

I tweeted out “Have you ever read a book that was SO sad, yet you just couldn’t put it down?” That’s this book. My favorite short story had to be Number Three, Garden Road, followed closely by Gold Boy, Emerald Girl – which is where the book gets its title.

The last short story actually makes me more sad than any because you realize that all that people want lately is to have someone who they can grow old with, and sometimes they forfeit happiness just to say that they are “with” someone. However, the running theme is indeed loneliness. Everyone is lonely, and everyone deals with their loneliness in different ways. We just get to see them under a microscope.

I can’t wait to see what the other book discussion member at my local library thought of this book. I most certainly took away a bit of everyone’s sadness in it.

I do know that most of the short stories end rather abruptly. Some you don’t even know if a resolution is reached most times.

I don’t know if I’m yet ready to pick up another book of hers, but I will say, that Ms. Li is definitely eloquent in her way of getting sadness across.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Janeane Davis
    February 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I love to read, but I hate sad stories. that is why I stopped reading books on Oprah’s book club list because they were always so very sad.

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