Sarah B. (Streamwood, illinois)
Pearl of China
This is a beautiful story about friendship, changes, and the country of China. China at times seems like a main character in this fictionalized story of the life of Pearl S. Buck, as we see the changes the nation goes through. I suppose it was, as it was important to her until the day she died.
I think my favorite part was actually the friendship between Willow and Pearl. I think most of us would love to have a friendship that transcends decades and continents.
Martha L. (Warner, NH)
Tribute to forever friends
A national icon, a literary spirit and a woman who knew how to be Chinese all describe Pearl S. Buck. Anchee Min has written a new book called Pearl of China, coming out in April, about Pearl’s early life in China. While the book is nominally about Willow Lee and her life long best friend Pearl S. Buck and their families, it is really a tribute to the mutual devotion of a people. Pearl's early life and her love for China and its people sing out from the pages in the midst the War with the Japanese and the Civil War. The main characters struggle to survive while finding the beauty in the language of poetry and writings of the Cultural Revolution.
This book was a miracle of words. Anchee Min is a gifted writer whose skills bring the reader along her journey. The readers are brought through the years, wars and changes in China. While the book may seem to focus on Pearl S Buck, to me the real heroine was that of Willow Lee and her undying dedication to Pearl S Buck.
Amy O. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Tribute to Buck's Love for China
I give "Pearl of China" five stars. Told through the voices of Pearl and her best friend Willow, it is joyful, bittersweet and heartbreaking in its portrayal of the lives of the Chinese people and Pearl S. Buck. Pearl and Willow grow up in each others company and although their lives reflect the upheavals in the Chinese political and social landscape there is a very human element throughout. All of the characters: Pearl's single-minded missionary father, her strong but neglected mother, Willow, the poet-lover and others all are painted with a vivid brush which draws you to them. It has been a long time since I first read Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth" and saw the movie. I am glad that we again can share in her life and stories and perhaps introduce a new generation to this important author. It would be great I think to have a new movie version made of The Good Earth. I am also left wondering how people in China today feel about Pearl.
Mary O. (Boston, MA)
The ups and downs of Chinese history are very painful but a great backdrop to this story. It is a beautiful story about an enduring friendship between two very different souls that defied all odds. It brought tears to my eyes as it explored the changes in China as a result of Maoism and the unrelenting persecution of dissenters. What is most gripping is that the author was a first hand participant in China as it was going through the red revolution. An excellent read!
Carol T. (Ankeny, Iowa)
Pearl of China - a jewel of a book
Excellent on all counts: characters, pacing, sense of time and place, narrator. Pearl of China would be a good addition to an Asian history class for any age. Makes me want to dig out my copy of The Good Earth. Did Willow Yee actually exist? If not, she should have.
Betty S. (Jasper, GA)
Pearl of China
Pearl Buck was one of my favorite authors when I was growing up. This novel, narrated by her fictional best friend, Willow Lee, tells the story of her life and happenings in China in the 1900s. it is filled with dramatic events, but is told with such stoicism that ultimately the reader is unmoved. It's worth reading if you're interested in Pearl Buck or modern-day China, but not for the story of Willow Lee.
Mary R. (Eagan, Minnesota)
Pearl of China by Anchee Min
I was disappointed in this book because I have read other books by Min that are much better. The historical background on Pearl of China was fascinating. However, this book felt as if Min was trying to cram too much historical fact into the narrative without a compelling story to pad the facts. The characters seemed flat and the story seemed shallow. The book is very short for the topic. It's a light read and a fine story but I was hoping for a much deeper look into the life of an American girl/woman in China during troubled times.