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The Scavenger's Daughters

Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, Book One

by Kay Bratt

The Scavenger's Daughters by Kay Bratt X
The Scavenger's Daughters by Kay Bratt
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    Aug 2013, 272 pages

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Kimberly Napier (11/10/15)

The Scavenger's Daughters, by Kay Bratt, is set in China. The author lived there for five years and the knowledge that she harvested on this country comes forth in the book.

The story begins with Benfu being beat and jailed during the Cultural Revolution. After this introduction we are sent to the present day to discover that there has been something that has happened between these two times that is yet to be discovered.

The characters are so well developed and the descriptions of the surroundings is superb. I felt myself hoping, without certainty, that the characters would be able to face their challenges successfully.
Darshell S. (Warwick, RI) (09/02/13)

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 starts during China's cultural revolution then fast forwards to modern China. You will be caught up in the trials and tribulations of Benfu's life as he struggles to make a comfortable life for his family. An engaging look at modern day China and its' cultural and economic differences that resulted from the cultural revolution. But also a heart warming drama and love story all rolled into one. I highly recommend this book!
Sandra C. (Rensselaer, NY) (08/14/13)

The Scavenger's Daughter
An heartwarming book. It clearly makes one realize how unimportant material things are. The historical facts were informative.
Power Reviewer
Harriette K. (Northbrook, IL) (08/10/13)

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 characters straight. What interested me most was that I understood Benfu, because as a child I was acquainted with a woman who fostered children most of her life. The selflessness of people like her and Benfu makes this a better world. I would recommend this book for its insights into the world of China during this time.
Audrey C. (Canfield, OH) (08/09/13)

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 hopelessness to another? But, a closer examination of the word scavenger provides the reader with an aura of saving something destined to be trash and transforming it into a valuable object. And, because I was "word enticed," I was richly rewarded by this read!

A short prologue (1967) portrays a teenage Benfu languishing in prison in the most deplorable of conditions. The time is set in the aftermath of Maoist China filled with inexplicable inhumanity. Benfu is given his chance of escape by another young man he doesn't even know. He runs and runs to freedom and collapses only to awaken to a beautiful girl later introduced as Calli who hovers above him and becomes a lifetime companion some time later.

Fast forward to 2010 in Wuxi, China where the reader is introduced to 60 year old Benfu who is on his daily scavenger hunt to collect rubbish to be sorted and recycled so he can use monies to provide for his ever growing family of abandoned girls. Once again he comes upon a cardboard box with another almost dead little girl. He rushes home with this newest addition to his household where "twenty-three flowers have been saved from death throughout the years.

The story proceeds as each day's expedition becomes more and more difficult because of his declining health. As the pages go on, the reader is introduced to the eldest daughter, Linnea, who lives at home and realizes that it now is her responsibility to provide for that which Benfu can no longer manage. Linnea and her boyfriend, a member of a family of the now governing class, fulfill for the family not only food but little treats of tradition to make life more bearable. When Benfu discovers Jet's background, he emphatically forbids his daughter to continue her growing friendship and fondness with the young man. The reader is griped by the struggles of the heart and the absolute obedience required in the Chinese family. Bratt gives no clues about the outcome of the novel, but the reader is richly rewarded by the heart rendering actions. Benfu struggles more and more with his seemingly fatal health issues and silently prays each day for just one more day and "one more butterfly kiss from each of his daughters." The reader can only hope that it will be!
Sharlene M. (Middleburg, FL) (08/05/13)

The Scavenger's Daughters
I had great hopes for this book as I thought the subject matter held a lot of possibilities, the story of a poor man in China who earned his living as a junk collector and made a hope for the abandoned infant girls that he found. Indeed, the author did a good job of making the subject of the story, Benfu, come to life and enables the reader to identify each of the daughters who became part of Benfu's life. But overall, I found the dialogue to be stiff and, to me, the story did not flow smoothly with a predictable ending. My initial impression was that this was a first-time author so I was surprised to see that she had other books to her credit. Although the subject matter was good, the author's writing style did not intrigue me enough that I will read future books in the series.
Lynne G. (Rockville, MD) (08/02/13)

The Scavenger's Daughters
This book is a smooth read and would appeal to young adults and adolescents particularly. The characters are appealing and the story itself is uncommon. The author writes clearly and is knowledgeable about Chinese culture. One would learn a lot by reading this story. I found it difficult to keep the girls separate and had to make a list with the characteristics of each. Very good descriptions of places, things, people and the revolution.
Power Reviewer
Barbara O. (Maryland Heights, MO) (08/01/13)

A Delightful Floral Bouquet!
A sweet read, the author tells a lovely story of a childless couple and the family they create by opening their humble home to abandoned and orphaned baby and very young little girls. The background story reveals the life of a scavenger as well as the Mao cultural revolution and the hardships endured told through the eyes of Benfu, the author's chief character. You'll look forward to more stories each focusing on one of Benfu and Calli's daughters, each bearing the name of Flower.

Beyond the Book:
  China's One-Child Policy

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