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Larry's Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China with My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant--and Save His Life
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Larry's Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China with My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant--and Save His Life

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  403 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
“One of the funniest, most touching and bizarre nonfiction books I’ve read.”
Boston Globe


Larry’s Kidney is Daniel Asa Rose’s wild-and-crazy memoir about his trip to Beijing, China, to help his black-sheep cousin Larry receive an illegal kidney transplant, collect a mail-order bride, and stop a hit-man from killing their uncle. An O. Henry Prize winner,  a two-time recipie
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by William Morrow
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Will Byrnes
In this amusing, fascinating and aggravating memoir, Daniel Rose tells, in highly comedic tones, of his adventure in China attempting to find a kidney for his dying cousin. Frankly, Larry is so annoying that I was tempted to put the book down, a rare event indeed. But I hung in and I am glad that I did. You will not come to love Larry, probably not even like him. But you will enjoy and learn from Rose’s portraits of China.

It is remarkable how the pair stumbles their way into an actual kidney. I
May 19, 2009 Catherine rated it it was ok
The title pretty much sums it up. The book started out with the mildly amusing details of how Rose was contacted by his cousin Larry and how he became involved in Larry's life again. Then the book quickly went downhill from there.

Rose's dialogue writing style was inane, tedious, and the stories were far-fetched, punched-up to try to hold the reader's attention, but boring. And Larry's stories were not only implausible, but put me to sleep.

Larry is a racist and Rose mocks not only his cousin with
Jul 22, 2009 Grady rated it it was amazing
'Huwwo' summarizes a character in one word!

Daniel Asa Rose has a winner on his hands with LARRY'S KIDNEY'. He has the skill and the comic timing to pull off an unlikely caper story with lightness, hearty laughter, tenderness, and wisdom, creating a book that most likely will go directly to film. It is a fast summer read that is brimming over with some of the funniest conversations between the characters while keeping an eye focused on the very fast paced story that borders on a little miracle of
May 17, 2009 Sam rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of how Daniel goes to great links to help his cousin get a kidney transplant in China. It is an intriguing story of romance and family loyalty, as well as, Daniel's ability to see through Larry's personality to the childlike nature he knew as a child.

Larry, Daniel, and Larry's mail order bride leave America to find a doctor who will give him a kidney transplant before he dies waiting for one in America. Larry's personality takes them on a journey they will never forget. It was
May 10, 2010 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: to everyone!
This is a funny, deeply moving, bizarre and keenly observed stranger-than-fiction memoir of the author's effort to obtain a kidney transplant for his cousin in China (where kidney transplants are illegal for westerners)...Improbably wonderful. Hard to put down-- rich with insights about China, family, medicine, transplants and the human heart.
Jul 24, 2014 Brandy rated it it was ok
The narrative moves too fast in some parts and too sluggish in others. I admit my bias against this book is partly because he seems to regard political prisoners being killed for transplants as a humorous side note. It's great about his cousin but his attitude is pretty callous. The more interesting parts of the book are not actually about his cousin getting a transplant, they are when he talks about the changes in the towns since his last visit. He really seems kind of racist, not seeming to ca ...more
Margaret Sankey
May 06, 2012 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Rose, an Esquire columnist, was surprised to hear his obnoxious cousin Larry's most recent scheme--going to China to procure a (probably illegal) replacement kidney and meet his internet mail order-bride. Rose's editor, wanting a story, underwrote two months of Kafka-esque experience in the Chinese medical bureaucracy with unpleasant and uncooperative Larry, a flirtatious interpreter who was pretty obviously state security, rival patients from the Middle East whose families played badminton in t ...more
Feb 25, 2009 Alisha rated it liked it
Having helped hospital patients in China while living there, it was interesting to read the comments of someone dealing with it from the other side. At the same time, parts of the book didn't flow well, and the author made at least mildly racist remarks in a few places.
May 11, 2009 Candy rated it did not like it
If I could give this negative five stars I would, horrible!
Whistlers Mom
Oct 06, 2016 Whistlers Mom rated it really liked it
I am seriously on the fence with this one because I found it both fascinating and appalling. Sometimes you can enjoy a book and be glad you read it, but still be hesitant to recommend it to others. It's different, to put it mildly.

The author is a professional writer and he writes very well. But the people he's writing about (with the possible but not definite exception of himself) aren't very likable types. And the subject (traveling to China to illegally obtain a kidney) is about as controversi
Lynn Wynn
Feb 08, 2017 Lynn Wynn rated it really liked it
Memoir about a man spending two months with his cousin in China, looking for a kidney transplant (for the cousin). Crazy, exasperating, ridiculous experience, but totally believable.
Oct 10, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it
This book is Daniel Asa Rose’s wild-and-crazy memoir about his trip to Beijing, China, to help his black-sheep cousin Larry receive an illegal kidney transplant, collect a mail-order bride, and stop a hit-man from killing their uncle. A bizarre and delightful book that will keep you laughing.
Aug 18, 2009 Faith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Delightful Armchair Adventure
I was hooked with the first line, 'Huwwo?' Larry's Kidney, by Daniel Asa Rose, is indeed an 'adventure of a lifetime (really) -- a madcap odyssey of the heart (and kidney) in the most exotic country on earth,' as the back cover proclaims.
Larry is something else. Rose shows him as funny, exasperating, morose, kind hearted, unyielding, dictatorial, and expansive by turns, a moody man who is nonetheless charming and hard not to like. I believe that Rose shows Larry as
Elaine Kasteler
Jul 15, 2011 Elaine Kasteler rated it really liked it
I read this book because of my own experiences with my mother receiving her liver transplant. It was an amazing to see first hand the processes, medical exams, committees, meeting with doctors, meeting with the people who have already received their transplants and also knowing people who did not make it because there was not an organ available.

My mother received her liver legally and in Utah. We believe it was from a woman who was killed in an automobile accident. Also, an interesting side not
Jul 30, 2009 Len rated it really liked it
First off, thanks to my friend Ofer Webman for recommending this book. He couldn't stop talking about it after he read it and now I know why.

Larry's Kidney is a funny story about a serious subject -- organ donations. In the book Daniel Rose tells the true story of the trip he took with his cousin Larry to try to locate a black market kidney to save Larry's life and in the process sheds some light on organ donation issues, the American medical establishment, Chinese culture and of most interest t
Oct 18, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
I think this book is probably actually 3.5 star-worthy, but I'm really not sure.

I HAD to read this book based on the subject. It's one of those cases where fact is stranger than fiction and you really can't make this stuff up. The author gets a call from his long lost cousin (who doesn't really get along with the family at all), a man with a speech impediment who makes a living off of suing people, and who is in desperate need of a kidney. The American donor/transplant system being what it is, h
Barbara M
Mar 11, 2015 Barbara M rated it liked it
This was a surprisingly funny and interesting book. It's a story written by Dan about his trip to China with his cousin Larry. They are going to China seeking a kidney for Larry. The wait list is too long in the US and Larry will die waiting. Larry is a character and has decided while he is in China trying to obtain a kidney - he'll also pick up a potential bride. He found the bride, Mary, on a website. A lot of the humor in the story comes from Larry's relationship with Mary. Also, the two cous ...more
Jun 28, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
Four stars is because I "really liked it" (or at least was much amused by it) but not because I think it is such a great book generally. The title summarizes what the book is about - that the author is able to extend this to almost 300 pages is what is most remarkable.

The most interesting part is the rather culturally insensitive/politically incorrect experience of China that the author presents. If in the first few pages in China someone doesn't like that aspect, then it is time to find somethi
May 29, 2009 Lisse rated it liked it
This book started out pretty hilarious with Dan, the author, getting a phone call from his cousin, Larry, (whom he had not spoken to in years) about his need for a kidney transplant (or kiddie as Larry's speech impediment makes it sound). Their conversation is very funny, but unforunately the rest of the book does not follow suit. It definitely has its moments, but there are also odd parts of it as well, like Jade, one of the girls who helps Dan and Larry find a kidney. Dan refers to her as bein ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Frank rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
With Larry's Kidney, author Daniel Asa Rose hits the ball hard and deep, but ultimately foul.

The premise of a man and his cousin traveling to China to try and obtain a kidney for a transplant the uncle desperately needs is great and the setup draws you in at the start. But the story didn't maintain momentum or keep my interest, in large part because, though the book is a true story, it felt like neither memoir nor fiction. I'm not sure why. The events seemed plausible but the characters spoke an
Karen Germain
Sep 22, 2011 Karen Germain rated it liked it
I borrowed this book from a friend who bought it after hearing about the author on NPR. It's definitely a crazy story and a wild ride, but I was left feeling like much of it had to be fabricated. I think it often seemed too outlandish, where maybe it could have held back a little and would have still sounded crazy, yet more believable. I had a hard time buying a lot of the little details about their time in Chine and the relationship between the two cousins. The way the family History was reveal ...more
Shaylen Foley
Jul 06, 2014 Shaylen Foley rated it it was ok
I thought this would be a lot more interesting than it was. The author spends most of his time satirically commenting on everything around him and while he tries to use the last few chapters to see the "positives" of all the people and places he spent the entire book poking fun of, I felt like it was a bit superficial. I think I was also disappointed because while I recognize it is a personal memoir, international medical tourism is a massive modern day phenomenon/issue and the author does absol ...more
SUMMARY: Larry Feldman desperately needed a kidney. After two god-awful years on dialysis, watching his life ebb away while waiting on a transplant list behind 74,000 other Americans, the gun-toting couch potato decided to risk everything and travel to China, the controversial kingdom of organ transplants. He was confident he could shake out a single, pre-loved kidney from the country's 1.3 billion people. But Larry urgently needed his cousin Daniel's help . . . even though they had been on the ...more
Donna Watkins
Jul 25, 2013 Donna Watkins rated it really liked it
This is the wackiest book I've ever read - and I really enjoyed it. This is a true story - probably embellished, but true. Dan goes to China with his cousin Larry to find Larry a new kidney. Larry is on the waiting list in the US, but it will be years before his name gets to the top so he is taking matters into his own hands and heading to China for an illegal transplant. Don't ask where the kidney is coming from. The story bangs around between hilarious and tragic and says lots about organ dona ...more
Sep 07, 2016 Nina rated it it was amazing
Hilarious true story. The subtitle effectively sums up the book. A fiction writer couldn't come up with a character as bizarre as cousin Larry. The descriptions of the people and places in China are priceless.
Sep 17, 2011 Intplibrarian added it
Shelves: own
I started reading it... and admit that while reading it I actually laughed out loud at times.[return][return]But... I'd put it down and forget about it. Never really really wanting to pick it up again. It just didn't grab me.[return][return]This, of course, isn't much help as a review unless you personally know me and kind of know what books I like and which just don't do it for me.[return][return]I wish I could say more about why I stopped reading it or didn't want to continue. It really IS ver ...more
Ashlee Palka
May 30, 2009 Ashlee Palka rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: avid readers searching for a book of hope
Shelves: first-reads
This book has a very interesting story line. But it couldn't hold my attention for some reason. I though I would like it, but I just never found myself wanting to read it.

However, this is a very good book that includes many fascinating elements and cool fortune cookies at the beginning of every chapter. It is filled with suspense and humor, but also has a very serious element to it. It really exemplifies just how far one would go for family. This book contributes a very good message and I loved
Jun 03, 2014 J.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A good book. I was thrown at first by the dialogue which seemed a bit wordy or prosy, for everyday speech (it didn't feel authentic, real). But I got used to it pretty quickly and sort of found it charming how they spoke to each other with a bit of a privileged vocabulary and syntax. I am not going to say anything on the morality of the subject matter. I will say I didn't really judge them too harshly for the actions they took to try and save Larry. You gotta do what you gotta do to survive.
Stu Strumwasser
Jan 26, 2015 Stu Strumwasser rated it it was amazing
When I was doing research for THE ORGAN BROKER I was on a quest to learn everything possible about the international black market for organs. From 2008 on I read most books--both fiction and non-fiction--that I came across which were based on the subject. Luckily, I stumbled upon LARRY'S KIDNEY. It is the incredible, fresh, depressing and uplifting memoir by Daniel Asa Rose about his adventure to China with his sick cousin Larry. Daniel is a tremendous writer, who tells an engaging and charming ...more
May 31, 2009 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads, 2009
Based on the title, I really thought I would enjoy this book. Unfortunately, the overuse of local dialect, the inappropriate "father-daughter" relationship between the author and Jade and the ethical issues that come up when the cousins finally find a kidney make it nearly impossible to find humor in their adventures. I may have been more inclined to like this book if it were presented as a work of fiction.

With that said, there are some funny moments and it is nice to see the cousins come to re
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Author of "LARRY'S KIDNEY: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China With my Black Sheep Cousin and his Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant ... and Save His Life" (Morrow). Called A satisfying, hysterical page-turner that will captivate fans of travel writing and family narratives, with special interest for anyone who's helped a love one through serious illness. Pu ...more
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“Is it me, or did we just stop in the median and the driver got out?" Larry asks.
"He has to go peewee," Jade informs us.
"Good to know I'm not demented," Larry remarks. "Merely imperiled.”
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