The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and is now hosted by Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads, and Katie at Never Not Reading. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.
So, just like the song, each month a new theme is chosen (participants will get to vote between two choices), and participating bloggers get to choose their favorite book within the theme, or the book they think best fits the theme, to talk about in a blog post on the first Monday of each month.
For today’s post, the theme and my selection are:
Favorite Book With a Mother/Daughter Relationship:
American Panda by Gloria CHao
At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.
With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.
But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
This months’s topic was especially tough, because I tend to read mostly YA, in which the parents are either missing, dead, conveniently absent or secretly evil…
But in the end, I had two big choices (excluding the classics Molly Weasley, Nathalie Prior or Jocelyn Fray). In second place came The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, which included a mother-daughter relationship that reminded me A LOT of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore and which I obviously adored.
However, my first place winner and pick for this month features a less idyllic mother-daughter relationship, but one I still believe is very important, and that is American Panda by Gloria Chao. Our main character, Mei, is under a lot of pressure from her parents, but most loudly from her mother, to live up to their very strict expectations. When Mei ultimately starts to move away from all of those expectations and becomes her own person, it is a very awkward and painful chapter in the relationship with her mother, but utimately, it is also so necessary and intriguing to read about. Plus, funny, because Mei’s moms’ voicemails are hilarious.