Review of The House Filler

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Patel Khushi Manishbhai
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Review of The House Filler

Post by Patel Khushi Manishbhai »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The House Filler" by Tong Ge.]
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4 out of 5 stars
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A witty and fast-paced narration takes the reader through a volatile China. The communists are rising up in resistance while the Japanese invasion is taking place. Amidst this backdrop, the Golden Phoenix, Hu Jinfeng, a 26-year-old unmarried woman in a traditionally conservative China, is given a marriage proposal, which her father accepts without any hesitation. Li Haichun, her husband, is a housebuilder and a widower. Since she is his second wife, she is called "a house filler". However, she is soon to find out that married life adds only more burden to a woman. A few years later, the Japanese attacked and took over most of China, consequently tearing her family apart. What is a woman, hardened by time, willing to do to save her children and her country?

I loved how the theme of silent feminism was portrayed. While Jinfeng could not outright oppose the various restrictive and orthodox measures of her society against women, she made sure to protect her daughters and challenge the unfair rules as much as possible. For example, she sent her daughters to school despite her husband's refusal. The narration was engaging and descriptive, with the perfect balance between telling and showing to create a vivid picture. The plot was evenly paced and created enough suspense to keep me turning pages. The facts were skillfully integrated into the fiction, creating a seamless story. The addition of footnotes for further reference was also helpful. The translated version of local Chinese poems also added more depth to the story.  The book was professionally edited, with no errors that I could spot. 

Jinfeng's relationship with her husband was not portrayed properly. In fact, the emotive parts of the novel rarely had an effect on me because they were not well executed. There are many parts of the novel that could have been used to exploit the sympathy of the reader, such as the many war atrocities, but I did not feel anything while reading. Thus, I couldn't emotionally connect with the characters. 

I recommend this book to people who like reading historical fiction and are interested in modern Chinese history. Both teenagers and adults can read this book. Considering all the above arguments, I rate The House Filler four out of five stars.

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The House Filler
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Baggett Yori
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Post by Baggett Yori »

The portrayal of silent feminism in a volatile historical setting like wartime China sounds intriguing, especially through the lens of a protagonist navigating societal constraints. The balance between storytelling and historical context, along with the incorporation of local Chinese poems and footnotes, promises a rich and immersive reading experience.
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Post by Prohlife Jobs »

I love reading books with strong female characters that challenge the norm. It is disappointing that the author could not illicit strong emotion through her story-telling, however it still seems like a worthy read. Thank you for the thorough review.
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Osvaldo Borghese
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Post by Osvaldo Borghese »

Thanks for your detailed review, some aspects of this book sound to be more adapted to a female audience, but I will keep this book in consideration.
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