Advance reader reviews of Pearl of China by Anchee Min.

Pearl of China

A Novel

By Anchee Min

Pearl of China
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2010,
    288 pages.

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There are currently 35 member reviews
for Pearl of China
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  • Judy K. (Conroe, TX)


    Mixed Feelings
    I was very anxious to read this book as I've long been interested in Pearl Buck. I thought because the author was Chinese and a celebrated author, , I would love it. I didn't. The story was interesting, but the style of writing was not to my liking. In my opinion, it read like an essay written by a high schooler. The facts were all there, but laid out in outline form and seemingly copied from an encyclopedia. It wasn't a novel, full of life, brimming with great dialog with a page-turning pace. It was flat and factual. I could've gone to Wiki and gotten the same. Very disappointing.
  • Karen D. (Dedham, MA)


    Pearl of China
    At first, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book. To me the writing was stilted, but as I got more into the book, I was to discover how much history was involved. Not having read about Pearl Buck or any of her novels before I will certainly put them on my reading list.
    The history of the cultural revolution in China and the sufferings of the people certainly put an awareness of Mao and Mrs. Mao.
    I recommend this book to everyone.
  • Elise B. (Macedonia, OH)


    More about Pearl
    Pearl of China is an excellent portrayal of life in China primarily during the Mao regime. Anchee Min really brings this time period to life with her descriptions of the landscape, adaptability of the people, and day to day life. The main character, Willow, has a beautiful and touching life-long friendship with Pearl S. Buck; however, I never felt like I got to know Pearl that well. I would have liked Anchee Min to give Pearl more presence and depth.
  • Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)


    Pearl of China
    Anchee Min paints a vivid portrait of life in Communist China that is at times breathtaking and at others heartbreaking. The story is told through the eyes of a peasant girl, Willow, who is befriended by the local missionary’s daughter, Pearl S. Buck.

    The friendship blossoms and strengthens as the girls grow up. They experience each others lives intimately and share each other’s sorrows. As Pearl’s mother says, life is about being forced to make choices, and each woman learns to make the right choice for their lives as the world seems to fall apart around them.

    Pearl utters the timeless words, “I love my country, so much so that I hate her for not being all I want her to be.” Pearl’s country was not the place she was born but rather China, the country in which she came alive. Pearl believes that “all spirits are equal before God” and she communicates this through her writing.

    The lyrical tone of this novel opened my heart and mind to want more. A truly memorable read.
  • Colleen L. (Casco, Maine)


    Pearl of China
    A compelling and heartfelt novel about Pearl Buck and her life in China. Be prepared to stay up all night till you have finished this novel as it will capture your attention from page one. This is a story told from the perspective of Pearl's best friend, Willow Yee. The reader sees Pearl and Willow growing up together as friends and living through many of China's historic moments. But it is not a story of history so much as a story of enduring friendship. Have tissues close at hand. An excellent novel that you will remember long after you have finished it.
  • Beatrice D. (Floral Park, New York)


    Remembering Pearl Buck
    Ainchee Min has utilized the genre of a historical fiction novel to bring us the story of Pearl Buck, a world renowned author and China expert. The author inserts a great deal of narration about Chinese customs in the early part of the 20th century. The story vacillates between novel and straight delivery of historical fact.
    The section on the Cultural Revolution under Mao and his wife is certainly important and interesting, but ascribing behaviors to fictional character felt forced to the point where nearly all the characters have to live into their eighties and nineties in order to cover all the history.
    I think this story would serve the audience better if it were written as a biography of Pearl Buck.
  • Harriette K. (Weston, FL)


    Pearl of China
    The author imagines a friendship between a young, impoverished Chinese girl and the very young Pearl Buck. Their lives take them from the early 20th century through the Boxer Rebellion, the many changes in China and the Cultural Revolution. The real Pearl Buck grows up to be a distinguished author and Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The story is beautifully written, and the author gives us a marvelous picture of the times. I, for one, am planning to re-read "The Good Earth", Buck's masterpiece. I suggest that the reader do the same and, also, the author's memoir "Red Azalea", which tells the story of her youth in China during the Cultural Revolution.
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