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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
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    Aug 2013, 272 pages

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Kimberly Napier

Eye-opening
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)

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)

The Scavenger's Daughter
An heartwarming book. It clearly makes one realize how unimportant material things are. The historical facts were informative.
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 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!
Lola T. (Broken Arrow, OK)

The Scavenger's Daughters
Rarely have I read a book that was as compelling and full of love as this one, and it still be a "page-turner." The "voice" of Benfu bothered me initially, but I came to understand this was part of the development of his character. The character development of all the characters was good, but I especially loved Linnea. Each one had his/her stories and secrets which I'm sure will be revealed in subsequent books--and I'll be reading them!! Whether you enjoy books about China or not, this is an enjoyable book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
Joy T. (Garden City, MI)

Helping your community
This book left me with such an uplifting feeling. I normally do not like books written in China and about the Mao revolution, but this book was the exception. It is the first in a series and I am looking forward to the next installment. I have told several of my friends that they need to read this book and I will probably have it as one if my picks for my book club next year. A read you shouldn't miss.
Power Reviewer Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
In China, baby girls are thought of as insignificant items. This book shows how one family finds and takes care of these children who are considered orphans as they have been abandoned by their parents. There is a Book Two to this book and I can hardly wait to read it. If you have a daughter, you will cherish her even more after you read this book.
Kathleen B. (Las Vegas, NV)

Beautiful Flower's
Benfu and Calli were a loving couple. Benfu's job was a scavenger, going threw dumps looking for things he could resell. He found girl babies and brought them home and raised them, All the babies were given flower names. They were very poor but he always found a way to put food on the table and heat the house. He had a horrible experience when he was younger as a Mao recruit. I think this book would be excellent for a book group because there is so much to cover. I read this book in a day but you could analyze this book for awhile. I am very happy that there is an another book available already to preorder in this series. I am definitely going to get book two in the series, this is based on a true man.
This would be a good book for the YA market.

Beyond the Book:
  China's One-Child Policy

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