The writing was not exceptional...but there were bits and pieces of the story that were touching, troubling and interesting from a cultural standpoint. One of the passages that stuck with me is towards the end of the book on page 269.
Her brother who was the closest thing she had to someone who ought to care for her (in her immediate family) was the type of person who always used the Chinese phrase for every situation "suan le" which means "who cares", "let it go", "whatever". He said this to her at the end of the book...
"Your problem Adeline, is that you're always transferring your own feelings and reasonings into others. You wanted to believe that we all shared your dream of a united family. In fact, no one cared except for you."
This is where it hit me. That's how I am. I have always carried this idealistic view that we should all like, and be kind to each other. I always think that because I want to feel accepted and appreciated ...that other people want to feel that way too. I mistakenly think that if I'm sincere and genuine that other's will be too. Ever since I was a child - I still think that when someone says, let's get together - they mean it...because I do. I'm wrong. Not everyone feels the way I do. That's where the Golden Rule... doesn't apply. "Do unto others as you would have other's do unto you." If that were true than it seems like we ought to ignore each other - because that's what people do. Don't bother smiling at people in the hallways, in passing... because people don't smile back. Don't bother bringing your favorite treats to people because - they don't do the same, nor do they ever go the extra mile to do something thoughtful for you - because let's face it - you're not even a blip on their thought radar.
Just because you want that ideal childhood and ideal life... doesn't mean anyone else gives a damn about it... most people in this world are like Adeline's brother... "suan le" neither hot nor cold - lukewarm, and dull as hell.
It's weird - this is something my fav Bishop from BYU would tell me... but I didn't understand it. In his own way he was telling me to lower my standards for people. Which is hard because I figure if I can meet my own expectations... being nothing brilliant - why can't everyone else? He also tried to impress upon me that not everyone knows the right, polite or kind thing to do. Most people don't have your best interests at heart...even if you have theirs. Which makes it hard to still remain positive when the majority of the population is not thoughtful, kind or generous. Most are running around insincere, insecure, jealous, petty and selfish.
I've discovered, only lately that it's not worth it. It's not worth my time to invest in people who are only going to disappoint me. So I'm focusing my energies on my little family and those few people who are like me. The ones who are real, giving, kind and thoughtful. Those are the people worth spending time with, and sharing my joys and fun with. The rest... they can stew in their own pity.
I'm done with the Golden Rule... done. It's done nothing but hurt me over the years. I'm foolish enough to think everyone else wants to follow it... because, it's so clear they're not...and if they're not, they're not worth it for me. I'm going to funnel all my energy into people who are worth it.