The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

A Book for Moms

By Lisa See
USA, 2017
Coming of Age, Epic Lifetime, Historical

Main Attractions

1. Pu’rh & Green Tea Friendly
Lisa See2. Akha Chinese Ethnic Tribe
3. Threads to Connect Family
4. Heart String Page Turner!!
5. Mother-Daughter Connections
6. Word Choice to Suit Theme, Setting
7. Always Unpredictable Events
8. Grisly Scenes, But Describes Emotions
9. So Much Insight: Cultural & Point of View
10. Best Mother’s Day Gift!

Lisa See

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Han Jeong Shik
This must be the shortest book to be ranked as Korea’s most indulgent, feast of vast variety.  The writing style (pacing & plot) could rank it as the compelling Ice Cream & Gelato because I simply can’t put it down!  

I bumped it up to Korea’s Palace food because of the research involved.  The variety of myths, rituals and customs of this dying ethnic group is astounding.  When ethnic groups’ way of life is modernized, they inevitably get swallowed up in the dominant culture’s way of life.  The death of the language follows closely.  See captures the lifestyle and change of the Akkha ethnic group with so much realism.  On every page, the reader can experience the customs of these exotic people.  Then she adds a layer to this rich feast with the sub plot.  Exquisitely done!  I truly think her writer’s craft has matured and advanced since her much earlier work, Snow Flower.

Destination Summary

I went into this book knowing nothing about the plot.  I loved going into it blind as a fan of her work and historical fiction.  No spoilers: It’s about Akha people a minority group in China.  It’s a great plot.  If you know about China’s various policies, you can probably guess how it would affect minority tribes and how they must adapt to modern life.  That’s all you get for a summary!

Off the Beaten Path

This short video gives a glimpse into the countryside and the swing festival.  It’s semi-raw footage, a little polished and presented.  

Travel Advisory

There are some grisly scenes.  But See doesn’t focus on the yucky bits.  Instead, she let’s the reader know what’s happening and draws our attention to the emotional character development that’s happening.  The scenes are short and there’s no reason to skip them.  If she focused on the yucky bits, could be an R rating, but her focus puts it at a safer PG.  Very Gothic in showing the beauty during an unglamorous moment.  

Packing List

✓ Google for Akha Map and Images
✓ An extra copy to give on Mother’s Day
✓ Best bud’s phone # or a book group for gushing
✓ Cups of tea; Pu’er, Green, Black, Rooibos. Fruit and Flavoured!

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
Sky Burial By Xinran (2004) - Also epic lifetime, Tibetan setting, rich cultural exploration and character change, a love story, beautiful writing.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan By Lisa See (2005) - My 2nd favorite book of See’s, I’ll happily compare these two different story approaches by the same author
Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham (1915) - Also an epic lifetime is explored, also a compelling page turned because of emotional investment
1Q84 By Haruki Murakami (2009) - The entire book is entered around bringing 2 main plot lines together, in a style wildly different than See’s.