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Word Count: 819
The Kitchen Gods Wife opens with the narrative voice of Pearl Louie Brandt the American-born daughter of a Chinese mother and a Chinese-American father who is a speech therapist living in San Jose Pearls mother Winnie Louie has called Pearl up to request that Pearl ask her daughters to attend the engagement party of Pearls cousin Bao-Bao in San Francisco Right away Pearl feels a reluctance to oblige her mother since she is more involved in her American identityperhaps a result of her marriage to Phil an Americanthan her Chinese background Nevertheless she feels an obligation to attend her families festivity and knows she would feel guilty otherwise Then two days before the engagement party Pearl receives another call from her mother telling her that Auntie Du has died and that the funeral will be arranged for the day after the engagement party So with all of this on her shoulders Pearl sets out toward San Francisco with her young daughters Tessa and Cleo and her husband Upon her return to her childhood home Pearls Auntie Helen Bao-Baos mother who co-owns a flower shop with Pearls mother pulls Pearl aside and makes a request Auntie Helen tells Pearl that Pearl must tell her mother Winnie about Pearls multiple sclerosis which everyone in the family knows about except for Winnie Helen says that Pearl must do this because Helen believes that Helen has a malignant brain tumor and does not want to die knowing that Winnie does not know this about her daughter Helen continues by saying that if Winnie will not tell her mother the truth Helen will be forced to do so herself Later Helen pulls Winnies mother aside as well and tells Winnie that she must unveil the secrets of her past to her daughter because she cannot go to her grave with such secrets We find out later that Helen knows her tumor is benign and is simply using the
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