MLA Platinum Award Press Release

BookBrowse Reviews Pearl of China by Anchee Min

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Pearl of China

A Novel

by Anchee Min

Pearl of China by Anchee Min X
Pearl of China by Anchee Min
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2011, 304 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A compassionate novel about friendship, Chinese culture, and one of time's greatest author-activists, Pearl S. Buck

With 30 out of 35 reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars, Pearl of China is a top pick amongst BookBrowse readers! Here's what they have to say:

This book is a miracle of words. Anchee Min is a gifted writer whose skills bring the reader along on her journey. While the book may seem to focus on Pearl S. Buck, to me the real heroine was Willow Lee and her undying dedication to her friend (Martha L). At times, I found myself responding to the novel as if the events really happened. The words are beautiful, especially the poetry that is interspersed throughout the book (Trezeline B). I did wonder throughout whether the narrator had been a real person; was there really a Willow? I am now inspired to find out, which may be the highest recommendation I can give (Kristen H). Be prepared to stay up all night until you have finished this novel as it will capture your attention from page one. It is not a story of history so much as a story of enduring friendship. Have tissues close at hand - this is an excellent novel that you will remember long after you have finished it (Colleen L).

Some readers enjoyed learning about Chinese culture and politics:
Anchee Min paints a vivid portrait of life in Communist China that is at times breathtaking and at other times heartbreaking. The lyrical tone of this novel opened my heart and mind and left me wanting more. A truly memorable read (Wendy F). Seeing the impact Pearl's father's mission had on the community was enlightening (Krista H). What is most gripping about the novel is that Min experienced the changes in China first-hand as it was going through the Red Revolution. An excellent read (Mary O)!

While others were taken with the humanity of Min's novel:
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 (Loretta F). 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 (Sarah B.)

Nevertheless, some readers thought Pearl of China fell flat:
I did enjoy the book, but wasn't blown away by it. The writing wasn't as good as I was hoping for, but I did learn things about Pearl and China that I found interesting (Krista H). The facts were all there, but laid out in outline form (Judy K). My love for the people of China, grounded in the books by Pearl S. Buck, left me disappointed by Min's characterization of the majority of them. They came across as mere caricatures (Constance S).

But overall, the majority of BookBrowse readers were delighted by Min's homage to Pearl S. Buck:
I especially liked the details about Pearl Buck's life in China, i.e. her father's obsession with Christ, her long-suffering mother, her mentally challenged daughter, her unfaithful husband, and the strength that both Willow and Pearl Buck possessed (Karen G). Pearl of China has inspired me to re-read The Good Earth as well as some of Pearl Buck's other books (Anna S). I am glad that we again can share in Buck's life and stories and perhaps introduce a new generation to this important author (Amy O).

Who should read this book?
I would heartily recommend this book for any book club, especially in combination with reading The Good Earth and Anchee Min's Red Azalea (Jo K). This is a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it to Pearl Buck fans - this book would lead to wonderful discussions (Marcia F). Excellent on all counts: characters, pacing, sense of time and place, and narrator. Pearl of China would be a good addition to an Asian history class for any age (Carol T). I 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 (Loretta F). I recommend this book to everyone (Karen D)!

This review is from the Pearl of China. It first ran in the April 20, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Book of Longings
    The Book of Longings
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the life of Ana, a woman born in the Galilean city of ...
  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Pronounce Knife
    How to Pronounce Knife
    by Souvankham Thammavongsa
    Many examples of immigrant fiction dedicate a portion of their storytelling to exploring details of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Easy Part of Impossible
    The Easy Part of Impossible
    by Sarah Tomp
    Teenager Ria Williams is a skilled diver. She is on track to compete at the Olympic level, but ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.