Have you ever read a book that basically changed your entire opinion on something or someone?
That’s essentially what this book does, both literally and figuratively.
Pearl and her mother, Winnie, are both keeping secrets from each other. When Winnie’s lifelong friend, Helen, threatens to expose the secrets she has helped keep from her daughter, then Winnie tell her daughter about her past, including some things that even Helen herself does not know.
What I love about this book is how easily the point of view changes. We begin in Pearl’s point of view, starting with her telling how she and her mother never got along, and then switch easily in to Winnie’s point of view. This stays our main point of view for the majority of the novel, before it switches seamlessly back in to Pearl’s.
Compared to other novels where the point of view swaps have come off as confusing or unnecessary, this is really well done. It reads exactly as someone who is telling a story, and even has plenty of references to Pearl’s reactions via Winnie’s words that make it feel natural.
The plot itself is so interesting, we learn about China and the events that lead Winnie to America, from a horrible abusive husband to a man she loved, and all of the heartbreaking instances in between.
I loved this book, it was everything that I was hoping The Commoner would be and more.