Most helpful critical review
An semi-interesting read, Contemporary Rubbish nevertheless
on August 31, 2003
Unfortunately, this novel was on my summer reading list, else I'd never have picked up a piece of rubbish such as this.
It was detestable from the start, since the story began in the middle and nothing was appropriately introduced. This could have worked if the author was Homer, but Ng is far from a great storyteller, and her attempt at this has brought nothing but confusion. As the novel proceeded, the readers are *slowly* introduced to the situation of the Leong family (unless reading the cover flap was intended as part of the introduction of the plot!): the middle daughter named Ona jumped off a high-rise building, which has caused considerable grief in the family. However, instead of detailing the aftermath of Ona's actions and its effect on the Leong family, Ng spent no less than 70+ pages (of a 197 page novel printed in large size fonts) describing the incident with no chronological order! Oh please! She could have at least smoothed out the time transitions instead of jumping harshly from one time period to another.
The ending, like one reviewer said, was "crappy". And indeed there is no better word to describe the ending than "crappy". Why? Because the ending actually ended in the time period *before* the beginning of the book! However, to make things even more confusing, Ng introduced something that might seem like it would be in the appropriate ending time period. Confused? That was her intention, or some rather weak attempt at metaphorical endings.
Of course, with our schools being the way they are, it does not surprise me at all that the mediocre, second-rate teachers (with exclusion of 1 or 2) at our high school's English Department would choose a piece of rubbish such as this instead of classics which are what high-school aged students should be reading. Don't buy or even check it out, it's a waste of time.