‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’
One of my girlfriends in high school had super-strict parents. Not only was she required to be home by the ungodly hour of 8 p.m. every night, she was allowed no boys in her life, and her dad even forbade her to smile and say “thank you” to the delivery guy. On the other hand, this girl recognized the value of restrictions.
The more her parents tightened the screws, the closer she and her secret boyfriend became. The relationship lasted all through high school, while everyone else went through two-month cycles and whined about it.
A similar thing happens in “Under the Hawthorn Tree,” though on a much grander scale. Set in China’s Cultural Revolution era of the 1960s and ’70s, it’s a tale of first love and subsequent angst so high on melodrama you need a cleaver to slice through its thick, syrupy ambience. It’s all there: the restrictions, the tribulations and punishments that all serve to stoke the fire of love.
Just getting a simple note into the hand of the loved one requires strategic maneuvering and a lot of legwork. This leads me to surmise that the advent of various social networks will bring about the official death of the secret-love relationship, but what the heck.