Cary, a middle-aged Chinese American, was brought up to believe that children should shed blood for their parents. Confucius says so: filial piety is a sacred duty that requires extreme sacrifice on the part of the young. Thus when Cary’s parents become too old and feeble to live on their own, she doesn’t hesitate to take them in. With the blessing of her Caucasian husband, Steve, she dives into caregiving with enthusiasm
But the more Cary tries to please her parents, the crabbier they become. Baba fights with Mami, and Cary with both; sibling rivalry fuels the fire, and Steve is fed up. A string of crises forces Cary to confront the source of her troubles: Confucius. She reads the Book on Filial Piety to see what exactly Confucius says about the subject. To her surprise, she finds his sayings are quite the opposite of what she’s been taught to believe. Liberated from her misconceptions, Cary rediscovers filial piety as a universal formula for a functional, loving modern American family.
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