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Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC)
An Insightful Book About China and Its People
I have long been interested in China and Chinese culture, and so I selected "Pearl of China" to read and review. Although Min explains the ups and downs of China's political history very well, it is the human side of that history that outshines everything else. In her characters, we see the very best of human nature: friendship, love, loyalty, and kindness, contrasted with the very worst: greed, deceit, hatred, and brutality. I found Min's descriptions of Chairman Mao and Madame Mao to be especially interesting.
Cynthia B. (Puyallup, WA)
Pearl of China
I would recommend this book to all readers, even if you're not interested in China or Pearl S. Buck, because it's a dramatic story filled with the human emotions that are the same across all cultures.
“Pearl of China” offers a look at the life of Pearl S. Buck, the first woman to win the Noble Prize for Literature for her novels of China. Using Buck’s fictional Chinese friend, Willow Yee as the view point, we are offered a dramatic view of a turbulent time in China’s history. Anchee Min, in her youth, was forced to denounce Pearl Buck as an American imperialist and it wasn’t until she read Buck’s “The Good Earth” did she realize the love that Buck held for China. This novel then, is a search for redemption for Anchee Min – this is the setting in which I read the book, and as a result was more deeply affected by it. This is a very respectful and beautifully written tale about a marvelous woman and her beloved China. After reading “Pearl of China”, I immediately picked up and enjoyed my old copy of “The Good Earth”.
Loren B. (Appleton, WI)
Insider's view of China
This novel was not only a fictional biography of Pearl Buck's life but the author's actual insider's view of China as it approached and went through the red revolution.
Catherine H. (Nashua, NH)
China is the Pearl
The characters were believable and the story interesting, but to me the best part was the fascinating "behind the scenes" look at the coming changes to China.
I thought I was going to read - in a fictional way - about Pearl Buck's life by reading "Pearl of China", but the main character in this book is rather China. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about Pearl Buck, the incredible woman, the writer. Pearl's lifelong friend Willow is the other incredible woman in this book, her strength, her courage.
Trezeline B. (Columbia, MD)
Pearl of China
However, I thought some parts of the book was like reading "Woman from Shangai".
A good read.
What a wonderful story! As a lover of Pearl S. Buck, I truly enjoyed the imagined story of her life. Anchee Min, the author, was made to renounce the writings of Pearl S. Buck because she grew up in China during Mao's Cultural Revolution. She was told that Buck's writings denounced China and her people. Later she was able to read The Good Earth and realized that the statement was not true and became fascinated by Pearl S. Buck and her stories of China. She began to imagine the experiences Buck must have had growing up in China that would inspire her to write as she did. Out of her imaginings grew this book.
The story is believable. At times, I found myself responding to it as if the events really happened. The words are beautiful, especially the poetry that is interspersed throughout the book. Pearl and her friendship with Willow Yee seemed very real to me as did all of the characters. Anchee Min developed the personalities of each character to make them very real and believable.
I highly recommend this book, especially anyone who has enjoyed the stories developed by Buck about the people of China.