'Sour Heart' is a collection of short stories told from the perspective of young girls whose families have immigrated from China. I have so many mixed emotions about this book. I found some stories to be amazing, like the first story ' We Love You Crispina'. However, some were incredibly disturbing and I didn't understand what the motivation was to write a story like that. I should warn you, there are lot of graphic scenes that are hard to read.
What I appreciated the most about the stories was how they discussed the pressures that immigrant children went through with school, pleasing their parents, and straddling two worlds. I was born in India and English was not my first language. I learned English from television and school. School and home were in constant conflict. One was familiar and filled with my language and culture. The other was cold and uninviting. Like many immigrant children, I tried to ignore my culture and assimilate into American culture in an attempt to be accepted at school. The stories reminded me about those times and it was comforting reading how other people felt and acted the same way I once did.
Zhang's stories also discussed poor immigrant families and the struggle for survival. Most of the families Zhang writes about are an extreme, but overall still have very relatable aspects. I remember how much my parents worked and sacrificed to provide as much as they possibly could for my siblings and I. The collection is original and interesting. Zhang's writing is fresh, but the disturbing aspects in a few of the stories did affect my overall opinion of the book.
You can find the book Here.