Warning: If you haven’t read “Marrying Buddha” by Wei Hui, do not read this review unless you don’t mind spoilers.
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Marrying Buddha” by Wei Hui! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Her second semi-autobiographical novel of desire and lust in a new city far from China… According to the author, Marrying Buddha is the continuation of her first novel Shanghai Baby, the international bestseller which was banned in China and catapulted her to fame and notoriety in the country of her birth. As in Shanghai Baby, the protagonist is Coco, a young successful female novelist who decides to leave Shanghai for New York. Coco embarks on the next leg of life’s journey, a road that leads her through love, desire, and spiritual awakening. In Manhattan she meets Muju. Muju and Coco share a deep, intense passion, experimenting and exploring their desires at every available opportunity. But into this relationship enters glamorous, wealthy and impossibly urbane New Yorker Nick. And when as a result her relationship with Muju is threatened, Coco returns to China, to the tiny temple-studded island of Putu, the place of her birth. It is on Mount Putu where Coco finds some inner peace — but once back in Shanghai she is visited by both Muju and Nick and is once again caught up in the intensity and passion of the two relationships. whether it is Muju or Nick who is the father…”
Given that I have never read “Shanghai Baby” before, there were some things that were already established, such as Muju and Coco being together, and because I didn’t read “Shanghai Baby” I had no idea how they got together in the first place. Given the lack of knowledge that I had no idea I needed until after I read this book, I’m going to be slightly lenient when it comes to overall rating this book.
The whole plot of this story essentially revolved around Coco and Muju’s relationship, as well as Coco’s fling/affair? with Nick. Other than having constant tension between these three characters and the relationships between each other, there wasn’t much of a plot overall. There was a gratuitous amount of sex scenes which I think weren’t all that necessary, and I think it took away from the plot. As for Coco as a character as well as Muju and Nick as characters, Nick fell flat for me. Coco and Muju were better-developed, but that was probably because most of the book was spent on their relationship than on Coco and Nick’s.
Despite what the last line of the summary may imply, Coco literally does not get pregnant until the very end of the novel (and, of course, with no idea which man is the father). I thought that, when about to read the novel, that the pregnancy part of the storyline would happen much sooner and then Coco would have the rest of the plot to deal with the pregnancy. It could have gone a number of directions, like trying to figure out who the father was or wondering what she should do with the baby, but alas that was not to be.
I liked some of the minor characters better than Coco, Muju and Nick because they had more interesting personalities than the main three. As I mentioned earlier in this review, Coco, Muju and Nick simply weren’t developed very well. Even though this is a romance story, it seemed that their personalities revolved around just their romantic relationships/flings with each other, and that made the story really boring very quickly.
Overall, I would rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars. In all honesty, I would have rated this 2 out of 5 stars, but given that this is a sequel to “Shanghai Baby” that I haven’t read yet, I can’t exactly give an accurate rating because I lack the information needed to properly read this one.