Review on: An Ocean Apart, A World Away by Lensey Namioka
An Ocean Apart, A World Away is basically a story that deals with a young Chinese girl who wishes to take medicine. The story takes place about 10 years after the 1911 Revolution (toppling of the Qing Dynasty). The main character (a Chinese girl) is born into a fairly liberal well-off family who sends her to a Western-run school. Experiences at home, with a close friend, and with what one can call a “lover” leads the main character to re-think her decision to take up medicine. Eventually though she makes a decision that leads her to America, where she struggles with her studies, her environment and with the people, before she finally realizes what she really wants in life.
The book is quite a short read. The plot isn’t that hard to understand, and it’s quite an interesting read since it involves little tidbits about Chinese history. I found this a bit off though since the inclusions of Chinese history are too random, and aren’t concise with the flow of the story. The story in itself, is also very fast-paced, and does not contain a very detailed timeline of events. To some, the story can be a bit lacking in the sense that, an angle has just been formed within the story, before it suddenly disappears and isn’t thoroughly tackled by the writer. It may leave some to be a bit frustrated with the quickness of the flow of the story, but in the end, it still tackles a very good issue within the story.
What I liked about the story is that it incorporated a lot of humor into the plot, adding in very many modern ideas (a little too modern I think). The humor and the “intrigue” injected into parts of the story kept the plot interesting enough to continue the story.
I don’t wholly recommend this book to people who are busy with their work/studies/activities/hobbies. If one is able to free up about 1-2 hours though, you can read this book for leisurely purposes. With less than 200 pages, it’s not that difficult to finish.