Summary and book reviews of The Scavenger's Daughters by Kay Bratt

The Scavenger's Daughters

Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, Book One

By Kay Bratt

The Scavenger's Daughters
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  • Paperback: Aug 2013,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

Having survived torture and imprisonment during China's Cultural Revolution, Benfu escaped to find love with his compassionate and beautiful Calla Lily. Together they build a fulfilling life around the most menial of jobs - Benfu's work collecting trash.

As he sorts through the discards of others, he regularly discovers abandoned children. With unwavering determination, he and Calli spend decades creating a family of hand-picked daughters that help heal the sorrow and brighten their modest home. But all is not perfect and when crisis threatens to separate their family, Benfu - or possibly his band of headstrong daughters - must find a way to overcome the biggest hardship yet.

Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger's Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds.

Chapter One
Beitang City, Wuxi, China, 2010


On a cloudy day in early January, Benfu stood outside his house and held the red pail under the spigot, waiting for it to fill. Today was a good day; when he pumped the handle, the old pipes didn't moan and rattle too much before deciding to cooperate. But he didn't mind it so much either way—like him, the piece of iron was ancient but stubbornly kept going. And anyway, they had a history together, and if a man could feel affection for a thing, then Benfu absolutely did. A silly fondness, but there all the same, for it was the very same temperamental water spigot that had been the matchmaker that brought him and his precious Calli together so many years before.

When the water reached the top, he pushed the pump handle down and carried the pail across the street to the old widow's house. Quickly he filled the tins for her chickens and used the last of the water on her pot...

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Reviews

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The Scavenger's Daughters is an engaging look at the cultural and economic differences that resulted from the Cultural Revolution, and is also a heart-warming drama and love story all rolled into one   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews
Author Blurb Karen McQuestion, best-selling author of women's fiction
The Scavenger's Daughters is the kind of novel I'd love to write, but never could. Simply told but beautifully rendered...A phenomenal story of life and love.

Author Blurb Amazon Vine Reviewer
This is a story full of morals and lessons, each one will touch a spot on your heart....Chinese customs and stories and revelations about Mao's reign and just how the Chinese live in general kept me absolutely entranced.

Reader Reviews
Darshell S. (Warwick, RI)

Love this book!
I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one! This is the story of Benfu, Calli, and the abandoned girls they have taken in over the years. It is beautifully written and will steal your heart from the start. Inspired by a true story the book ...   Read More

Sandra C. (Rensselaer, NY)

The Scavenger's Daughter
An heartwarming book. It clearly makes one realize how unimportant material things are. The historical facts were informative.

Harriette K. (Northbrook, IL)

The Scavenger's Daughters
The story of a poor man who has survived Mao's "cultural revolution" and goes on to foster many abandoned girls is heartwarming. I did not find the book very well written and awkward in spots. It was also difficult to keep the names of the ...   Read More

Audrey C. (Canfield, OH)

The Scavenger's Daughters
Bratt cleverly titled novel fills the reader with images of refuse, dirt, and stench. How could any reader be lured into choosing this book which seemingly promises pages of depressive, downtrodden characters ambling from one overwhelming ...   Read More

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China's One-Child Policy

The scavenger in The Scavenger's Daughters adopts many unwanted Chinese girls and adds them to his growing family. The casting away of girls has been noted as one of the many devastating impacts of China's one-child policy.

More than 30 years ago, China implemented a program where couples were allowed to have only one child with some exceptions: in villages, for example, you were allowed another if the first was a girl. Critics of this harsh rule have pointed to increased female infanticide, forced abortions and sterilizations, and abandoned children. Many Chinese girls have been adopted around the world and charities expressly formed to foster a better understanding of Chinese culture among these children and their adoptive parents. ...

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