Summary and book reviews of Rebellion by Molly Patterson

Rebellion

by Molly Patterson

Rebellion by Molly Patterson X
Rebellion by Molly Patterson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Aug 2017, 560 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Chris Fredrick

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A sweeping debut that crosses continents and generations, Rebellion tells the story of Addie, Louisa, Hazel, and Juanlan: four women whose rebellions, big and small, are as unexpected as they are unforgettable.

At the heart of the novel lies a mystery: In 1900, Addie, an American missionary in China, goes missing during the Boxer Rebellion, leaving her family back home to wonder at her fate. Her sister Louisa - newly married and settled in rural Illinois - anticipates tragedy, certain that Addie's fate is intertwined with her own legacy of loss.

In 1958, Louisa's daughter Hazel has her world upended by the untimely death of her husband. It's harvest time, and with two small children and a farm to tend, she is determined to keep her land and family intact. Yet even while she learns to enjoy her independence, Hazel realizes that the tradeoff for some freedoms is more precious than expected.

Nearly half a century later, Juanlan has returned to her parents' home in Heng'an. With her father ill, her sister-in-law soon to give birth, and the construction of a new highway rapidly changing the town she once knew, she feels pressured on every side by powers outside her control. Frustrated by obligation and the smallness of her own dreams, Juanlan at last dares to follow desire, only to discover an anger that cannot be contained.

Moving from rural Illinois to the far reaches of China, Rebellion brilliantly links through action and consequence the story of four women, spanning more than a century. From the secrets they keep and the adventures they embark on, to the passions that ultimately drive them forward, the characters at the center of this electric debut dramatically fight against expectation in pursuit of their own thrilling fates.

Excerpt
Rebellion

When George and Lydie Hughes came up the drive in their pickup, I was coming out from the barn. I'd been feeding the pigs and thinking how glad I was that the little ones were finally weaned: one of our sows had failed to nurse after she farrowed, and we'd had to bottle-feed her piglets until early October. Only four from the litter had survived. But they were putting on weight, and now that feedings were easy again and I didn't have to spend so much of my time perched on a stool in the half-dark, cradling a piglet in my lap, I felt almost the same as I had a couple months before when Debbie went off to kindergarten. Relieved, but also just a little bit sad. Now, in the mornings, I got Joe and Debbie ready for school while Karol ate breakfast, and by the time they ran down the lane to catch the bus, I had only dirty dishes to keep me company at the empty table. It wasn't entirely a bad thing to be alone for so much of the day. But it was an ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. In what ways do each of the main characters — Addie, Louisa, Hazel, and Juanlan — rebel? What are they rebelling against?
  2. Both the opening and closing chapters are distinctive in presenting self-contained stories. How do the "Driving" sections relate to the book's themes, characters, or plots?
  3. The novel's storylines concern more than a century of relations between China and the West. Previous to reading the novel, what did you know about missionaries in China, the Boxer Rebellion, or America's 1999 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade? How did that knowledge (or lack of knowledge) affect your reading?
  4. Each of the central characters changes over the course of the novel. Which character do you think changes...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Though the Boxer Rebellion is the presumed cause of Addie's disappearance, the historic event stays mostly in the background. The meat of the novel comprises the four stories and each character's means of rebelling against the bounds of her circumstance. These personal rebellions aren't easy to define. They are messy. Each character changes her situation, but there is always a price on the other end.   (Reviewed by Chris Fredrick).

Full Review Members Only (800 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Three strong women and their acts of rebellion in disparate circumstances are intriguingly connected in this vividly rendered, impressive debut.

Booklist

The title might lead the reader to expect large events, but, though some history lurks in the background, this is a book about the quiet unfolding of lives and the kind of rebellion that comes from following one's heart.

Library Journal

Starred Review. The Pushcart Prize-winning Patterson has written quite a debut, truly a page-turner that shows her knowledge of life in China. She's a natural storyteller with empathy for the plight of women, and book groups will have much to discuss with this sweeping, far-flung novel.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A talent to watch, Patterson manages to travel broad swaths of history and geography while creating intimate moments with a refreshing lack of sentimentality; and the novel's sense of adventure makes it addictive reading.

Author Blurb Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus
Molly Patterson is a writer of the first order, and her debut novel is a revelatory, immersive miracle. Ambitious in scope and exacting in its language, Rebellion becomes a grand exploration of fate and circumstance.

Author Blurb Peter Orner, Author of NBCC Award Finalist, Am I Alone Here? and Love and Shame and Love
I found Molly Patterson's Rebellion hypnotically compelling. I was taken by the grand sweep of the story, the simple, direct beauty of the prose, and above all these characters - people I came to know so well. Patterson captures rich, complex lives with great sensitivity and humanity.

Author Blurb Michele Filgate, writer and contributing editor at Literary Hub
The women who occupy Molly Patterson's debut novel share a bond that stretches across continents and generations: a desire for more out of life. Rebellion is an epic, electric novel about the large and small ways defiance can transform a person.

Author Blurb Cecily Wong, author of Diamond Head
Patterson writes with tremendous attention, the strokes of her words fluent and vivid, and it is a rare pleasure to feel that what we have conjured in our minds is exactly what Patterson intended.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Boxer Rebellion

One of the main characters in Rebellion is a Protestant missionary to China in the 1890s, who goes missing during the Boxer Rebellion.

Though not nearly as old as Confucianism, Christianity existed in China as early as the seventh century, but the presence of Christianity in the country varied widely as Nestorian Christian, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox groups fell in and out of favor with Chinese rulers. The Protestant branch arrived through missionaries beginning in the 1800s.

In the late 1890s, a secret group of Chinese rebels, the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, began attacking Christian missionaries and the Chinese who had converted to Christianity. They began their resistance in the north, but eventually made...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Rebellion, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Mrs. Parrish
    The Last Mrs. Parrish
    by Liv Constantine
    Amber has lived in poverty all her life, and she has had enough. Of course, wishing to have money ...
  • Book Jacket: Never Coming Back
    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee
    18 out of 23 reviewers gave Alison McGhee's Never Coming Back a rating of 4 or 5, with an average ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Wonder Valley
    by Ivy Pochoda

    A visionary and masterful portrait of contemporary L.A. from the author of Visitation Street.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.