Her Mother's Voice
By Anna Woo
Genre: General Fiction, Asian American Fiction
Her Mother’s Voice is about the mother-daughter relationship and cultural conflicts. It is about a Chinese mother who is dying of cancer and her adult daughter, Emily. Emily consciously and unconsciously struggles with her Chinese identity due to her experiences of racism and alienation, growing up as a second generation Canadian in a mid-sized Ontario town. She struggles against being the good and dutiful Chinese daughter, yet finds herself playing this role. Consequently, she finds herself searching for a professional who can help cure her mother’s cancer. Western and Chinese medicine are pitted against each other.
In addition, she has been hiding her romantic relationships from her mother. Now with her mother dying, she is forced to face her fears and become open about her current relationship with a White Anglo-Saxon man.
Her Mother’s Voice is a story about the complex relationship between a Chinese mother and daughter. Lacking an emotional and physical connection to each other, Emily is thrown into a caregiver role after her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I understood the anxiety and mental anguish Emily felt when it came to pleasing her mom and debating introducing her white boyfriend to her traditional mother. Her Mother’s Voice is a quick read and I found the ending to be satisfying. I think readers who enjoy a complicated family dynamic should give this book a shot.
Anna Woo was first published in 1993 in a collection of short stories called Sharing our Experience, by the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
She has a Master Degree in Education in Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (1997). As well, she completed the Creative Writing program through The Humber School for Writers in 2002.
Her Mother’s Voice is her first fictional novel.