Cover Image: The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

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Member Reviews

This book surprised me. I went into it kind of intimidated by the genre but discovered pretty quickly I had nothing to worry about. I wasn't aware how easy to read Jamie Ford is, even about a culture I am unfamiliar with. She took a scientific theory and turned it into a beautiful story about how trauma can be passed down through generations. Each "daughter's" story was equally interesting and pulled me into their worlds. The timelines jump around pretty drastically so you have to pay close attention to that but I felt it worked well for the type of book this is. I loved that she even went into the future several years and didn't just focus on the past, although, the Chinese American history was a valuable lesson as well. I believed her stories and could have continued reading even more!
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This is a fantastic book that touches on generational trauma and the unseen emotional costs of motherhood. This book had me hooked from beginning to end. Sharing our stories, and working through our past issues is the best way to help the next generations because, as this book shows, we all have some shared experiences that could use some help to get through.
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The author’s introduction is extremely helpful for understanding the manner in which the stories unfold. It can become confusing as there are “many daughters of Afong” as the title states. The theme of the story is the concept of epigenetic trauma. The idea that certain experiences and memories can be “inherited” in some way. The author focuses on the life of a real person, Afong Moy, who was the first Chinese woman to land in America in 1836. 

The story is told primarily through the experiences of Dorothy Moy who despite her fame as a Washington poet laureate, struggled with continual episodic mental health issues. Her depression and dissociative state created much discord in her life so she agreed to and experiment in 2045 to mitigate “inherited trauma”. Only time will tell if such intervention is possible to alleviate the suppression and violent treatment that can occur due to ignorance. 

The “daughters” are introduced in different time periods experiencing their own version of emotional difficulties relative the era in which they live. Ethnicity plays a role in the cultural traditions which are passed on and the perceived expectations that they bring to each new generation. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Simon&Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC. My review contains my honest and unbiased opinion.
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The Many Daughters Of Afong Moy as many reviewers had written before, was a book that I had a hard time getting into as I was reading something very new for me, I've read about epigenetics with Dr. Joe Dispenza, yes I do his meditations, and work. anyway back to the subject, I've read this book and I thought I was going to have some similarities in there but no I got a little lost with all the characters as this book transcends from many years and eras repeating the same over and over again.

This is the story of seven women, all of them related and suffering from the sesame type of traumas over and over again. all of them can even feel the traumas from the past these women were encountering as if they were feeling the feelings of their predecessors. Most of them are living the same things, rejection, and misogynistic treatment for men, it was a book that I spend the majority of the chapters angry about, mostly because the men in this story were very ignorant, their costumes and traditions, everything was terrible as they lower women's value to the point that I felt in rage. 

It was very sad how their families will even reject them because they were not a boy, borning as a woman was already a burden for her parents, they will even make some type of precessions that will indicate they were morning there was no boy and there was a girl. 

The saddest part of all is to really understand how no matter the years or even the change of an era men still treated women as less, and every new character will suffer some type of rejection.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is based on the first Chinese woman that arrived here in the US, her sad story continues with many generations after her. The way they were treated, the way men treated them as if they were nothing but a problem, everything was very sad to read. 

This was a long book but I'm glad I had the opportunity to immerse myself in this magical world.

Thank you, NetGalley and Atria Books, for the advanced copy of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you to netgalley.com for this ARC.

I have read this author's other books and enjoyed them. I really enjoyed this book as it was very different from his others. I liked the historical fiction aspect combined with the futurist perspective tied in with an interesting psychological concept. It all wove together well and was fascinating reading.

Well done and a page turner. A great book to start my reading year.
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The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford.  The premise of this book is inherited trauma.  Do you have an irrational fear of dogs or tight spaces?  This book tells us that perhaps our great great grandmother was attacked by a dog or locked in a tiny closet, and that is why we fear those things.  It follows Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman in America and her various descendants.  Beautifully written, but it ended up being a bit hard to keep track of the different time periods.  Jamie Ford wrote The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet which is excellent.  This book didn’t do it for me.  3.5 stars.  Many thanks to the publisher, the author and NetGalley for this advanced reader copy.
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Unfortunately, this was a book that I just could not finish.  I had trouble grasping the story as we alternate between daughters as the story unfolds.  It had an interesting premise in that we are tied to our ancestors in unexpected ways - I was just unable to connect.
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We were delighted to recommend this on Episode 354 of What Should I Read Next: Book festivals for beginners,  about planning and serendipity at literary festivals. The show notes are linked below!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a gifted eARC of this title. 

What a MARVELOUS book! I was hooked from beginning to end. It jumped around from different time periods and perspectives, but I found it easy to follow along with each new character. They each had such beautiful and tragic stories that circled back to the main character. I loved that it had historical fiction, a little sci fi, some romance, poetry, and so much more. I HIGHLY recommend this to my followers! I cannot wait to read more from this author.
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The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is a complex book the covers seven generations of Chinese women. Afong is a young girl in 1842 China who is to become the third wife of an older man. He dies before the wedding but her father has already spent the money he was promised for her so the wedding is to go on even though he is dead. One of his other wives comes up with a plan to have her sent to America where he becomes the first known Chinese woman in the new world. 

The book bounces back in forth between Afong's descendants, in no particular order, starting each chapter with that woman's name and year. We see the discrimination of these women based on the their sex and often nationality.

Dorothy lives in 2045, she is very depressed and has a hard time with life. She has seen many therapists but she finally starts feeling better when she is introduced to epigenetics, the study of trauma that is passed down through our DNA to future generations.  Dorothy submits to futuristic experimental treatments that have her seeing or almost becoming her ancestors. 

I had never heard of epigenetics, and even after reading the whole book and the Author's Notes, I can't say that I truly understand to or believe in it. We all have trauma at some point in our life and to think that that could be more important to who we are than the experiences our ancestors had, it's not for me.  Even in the book, Dorothy lost her mother as a young teenager, I think that and her living in various homes and being homeless at times was a bigger part of her depression than what her great-grandmother went through.

That being said, Jamie Ford has beautiful writing and he obviously did a tremendous amount of research. I appreciated the Author's Notes more than the book, sorry! In them we learned that Afong Moy was a real person as was a number of the events that occurred during the book.

Thanks to NetGalley for the book.
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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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Mr. Ford uses magical realism to present us with multiple characters in this enchanting tale.
Traveling through time and back, we meet many past generations of women in Dorothy's family.
It is also a story of motherly love, and what one does to protect the young.
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My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Atria Books, for the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy. This book was fascinating. I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I read it twice, back-to-back, because I felt I had missed certain elements of the story the first time around. I was not wrong. My second reading of the book yielded different feelings and take-aways. The story is multi-generational and the reader is taken back and forth between various time periods. Each chapter brings different elements of the story to bear, and while the flavors and backdrops for the story vary, the familial connections along with the various traumas that occur throughout the book provide a thread of consistency that tie everything together. The concept of epigenetics or genetic memory is truly thought provoking and several times I stopped reading to digest what was happening and reflect on what it might mean to carry on experiences that previous generations had experienced and what the ethical implications are that surround the study of epigenetics. While reading the book for the second time I encouraged two friends to read along with me so we could discuss what we thought of the book. All of us found the book engaging and enjoyed the character development and storylines. The only criticism I have is minor - and that is the future state was not very creatively imagined. That we might all still be looking at our personal devices or phones 30 or 40 years from now seems unlikely and more of a current experience rather than what's to come. Irrespective of this critique as it is minor, I would recommend this book as one that is an enjoyable read and that will stay with you.
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3.5 stars      
             
A beautiful but tragic story of the interwoven lives of one matrilineal line, spanning continents & centuries. It has a really cool premise, & despite the sad stories it had a positive ending.
 
[What I liked:]

•The writing is beautiful and vivid without being cloying or verbose. I enjoyed the many settings, across time and place.
 
•I really enjoyed the cast of characters! Afong & each of her daughters felt unique & distinct, while still being clearly connected & sharing characteristics. It took a lot of thought of care to create them like this.

•The ending is really sweet & hopeful without feeling forced or unrealistic. I’m so glad that Dorothy found a happy life in the end.


[What I didn’t like as much:]

•Whew, there is a lot of tragedy & trauma in this book! Which is kind of the point of the premise. And the book does have a happy ending. But just be aware of all the trigger warnings.

•I didn’t really understand the trip Dorothy takes near the end when she overdosed on the pills the doctor gives her—does she *actually* rewrite history? Or is it just her imagination? This is kind of an important point, so I wish it was clarified.

CW: major character death, child abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia, domestic violence, sexual violence, mental illness, suicide, infidelity, bullying

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
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Martha Graham called it Blood Memory...The ability that we all have as human beings to instinctually know our relatives from the past, from way in the past. This is a beautifully written book and I could not put it down. It was intriguing, fascinating, eloquent and totally believable! Jamie Ford is an incredible writer, succinct and so clear in her descriptions of time, place and energy. I LOVED THIS BOOK, and it is absolutely one of my top ten for 2022. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the arc. 

BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT!
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I'll get this out of the way: Hands down, honest to everything, this was one of the best reads of 2022! 

Now to the meat. Ford's pseudo speculative fiction of the power of genetics in passing down trauma and the impact that can have for descedants of persons who survive truly traumatic events is fascinating. Told across multiple timelines, each piece revealed at just the right time, this was like watching an impossible puzzle being solved while you watched. We follow the Moy descendants as they battle the confusion of trauma responses to traumas they have never had (along with those they have) largely through the lens of the latest Moy in the near future as she tries cutting edge science in a last-ditch effort to salvage her sanity, marriage, and motherhood. My heart broke for every character and I will mourn my loss now that I cannot meet them each for the first time again. If you want a true story of healing through listening and learning from those who came before, this is exactly what you need. 

**Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for the eARC**
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One of the most transporting novels I’ve ever read.   Fantasy mixed with historical fiction that makes you explore memories
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Thanks to Atria for the advanced copy of this book. 

This was one of my more anticipated reads of the year, as I really enjoy a good multi-generational story like this. However, I definitely found myself gravitating toward some of the storylines versus others, which made it a bit hard to pick back up at times, so it took me awhile to finish this one. Overall, the writing was very good and I appreciated the story and narrative on the effects of trauma through the generations and how easy it is for this cycle to continue, even into the present day.
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This was an unique book that I enjoyed even though I did get confused at times. It dealt with past generations of women in Dorothy’s family and her experimental treatment in dealing with trauma. I did find it confusing at times, especially the epigenetics , but still interesting.  Ford’s Acknowledgments at the end of the novel helped explain some things. Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-ARC! 

I enjoyed discovering how the stories and timelines came together. However, I’m rating this lower because I’m still so confused even after finishing the book. I was really excited about the idea of epigenetics and the sci-fi intersection to this historical fiction novel, but it just left me wanting. First, the non chronological nature of the storytelling was confusing throughout. But mainly I think it was confusing because not all storylines got equal time on the page. So when the story would finally shift back to one person, you had already forgotten who that person was because it had been half the book since you’d last heard from them. Second, the world building wasn’t as well established so I had a hard time distinguishing between the time periods and also understanding the world of the 2045 timeline. Third, I’m still so confused about what the experimental treatments were supposed to do and what they actually did. The science wasn’t really explained, so the entire last fourth of the book was just so confusing and I have no idea what happened. I gave it a ton of leeway at first, but I expected it to make more sense in the end.
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