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Pearl of China

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  6,284 Ratings  ·  838 Reviews
Anchee Min's story of two young girls in in the last days of a nineteenth century China. Willow, the only child of a destitute family meets a young Pearl S. Buck who grows up to become the Nobel Prize winning author and activist. Pearl S. Buck wrote, The Good Earth.
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2009)
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Jul 30, 2013 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
**This was a reviewer copy provided by Library Thing**

Pearl of China is a fictionalized account of the life of Pearl Buck as told by her best friend, Willow Yee. From Buck's childhood as a missionary's daughter in China to her life in America during Mao's Great Leap Forward, we see Buck's life through Willow's eyes and, as a result, what her work meant to the Chinese people. Having been raised in China, Buck is presented as more Chinese than American and as the only Westerner who could communica
Apr 21, 2010 Chrissie rated it liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Tara
Shelves: bio, china, usa
Only three stars, and I will try and explain why. First of all the title tells you the book is about Pearl S. Buck, but much of what you learn about her is summarized in short sentences. So much is missing. Pearl is described throough the eyes of her friend Willow Yee. The book is in fact more about Willow's life than Pearl's! Furthermore, a very large portion of the book concerns Christianity in China. I think the title is deceptive and falsely attracts readers by flagging with Pearl's name.

Susan Johnson
Sep 15, 2016 Susan Johnson rated it liked it
Pearl S. Buck was my first introduction to China. I remember curling up and reading her books particularly The Good Earth when I was in high school. I was just so fascinated. This is a fictionalized version of her life in China told through the eyes of her childhood friend, Willow Yee.

The story takes us through their childhood through Mao's terrifying reign even though Pearl was not in China in those times. It takes us on a journey on what happened to people who defended Pearl in those times.
Mar 30, 2010 Gaby rated it really liked it
I was very excited at the chance to review Anchee Min's Pearl of China. I have an uncle who would carefully select books for me. When I was in fifth grade, he introduced me to Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth. The Good Earth was the first grown up book that I read; the story was so absorbing and sad that it stayed with me for a long time. It was The Good Earth that sparked my interest in China.

In Pearl of China, Anchee Min introduces Pearl S. Buck at a young age. We meet Pearl as a young girl as s
Since the plot was already described elsewhere, I won't add anything new regarding this topic.

In particular, I do hate books which mix fiction with biography since one never knows what is real fact and what is fiction. I really would prefer to read an honest biography of this great and unforgettable writer named Pearl Buck.

I won't criticize the order which Anchee Min received to denounce Pearl Buck as an American imperialist since it seems she doesn't was aware of the existence of the vow of sil
Jan 13, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Pearl of China was an interesting but kind of disappointing book. I appreciated knowing more about Pearl Buck and her life in China, but the book left me wanting. Where were the great descriptions of life - good or bad - in China? There is such a wealth of material that could have been used to fill out the predictable story. I did learn a few new things, but at times, realizing it was a fictionalized account, wondered about the veracity.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the book. I was just wishin
Tara Chevrestt
At times while reading this, I questioned whether this book was really about Pearl Buck or about Christianity in China. I realize that with Pearl being the daughter of missionaries, religion is unavoidable. However, the religious talk, the god this and god that was overwhelming. I occasionally will pick up a Christian fiction book due to the story lines they contain and I honestly feel this book had more "god talk" than any Christian novel I have picked up.

Pearl grew up in early 1900s China and
Todd Giles
Jun 15, 2010 Todd Giles rated it it was amazing
This happens to be my introduction to Pearl S. Buck (yes --- I'm a late comer)... but what an introduction it was! I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and found myself pulled directly into the story - especially in the early years. I thought it captured the essence of small town life in rural China in the early 1900s very well - and reminded me some of my time I lived in a small town in Taiwan (albeit 100 years later).

This book also has served (for me) as introduction to much of Chinese 20th century
Dec 26, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to others. The relationship between Willow and Pearl was special indeed and the glimpse into Pearl S. Buck's life in China was a treasure.
Apr 06, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
Willow's father wanted to name her "Weed", because he said if she started out in the lowest possible place, life could only get better. But, her grandmother prevailed and named the baby Willow. Willow Yee, the narrator of Pearl of China, is a fictional character who tells the story of Pearl S. Buck woven though her own life story. This is also a brief telling of the history of China from 1900 to the 1970's.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about one of my favorite authors, Pearl Buck. This retelling
Mar 26, 2011 winda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to winda by: Truly
Shelves: my-bookshelf
Aku paham Pearl ingin menulis novel untuk melepaskan diri dari hidupnya. Namun, siapa yang ingin membaca cerita-ceritanya? Orang China tidak perlu perempuan pirang menuturkan kisah mereka, sementara orang Barat tidak tertarik pada China. Apa yang membuat Pearl mengira dia mempunyai peluang sukses?

Begitulah perkataan Loosing Buck kepada Willow, sahabat Pearl. Nyata benar bahwa suami Pearl sama sekali tidak mendukung Pearl untuk menulis. Awalnya Pearl menikahi Loosing karena kecintaan mereka aka
Mar 24, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
I kept changing my mind over whether this was a two star read or a three. I got this through Goodreads First Reads, and was excited. I am not very good with history or geography as academic subjects, so I enjoy historical fiction that entertainingly fills in those gaps.

I read The Great Wave in grade school, and The Good Earth as an adult, I've been to the Pearl S. Buck house, so I consider myself passingly familiar with her and her work, eager to learn more about her life, even from a fictional
Sep 13, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it
I discovered Pearl Buck in my teens and devoured her books. Over the years I have them time and again never tiring of her stories of China and vivid descriptions of the people and the places they lived. I think it is due to her writing that I have always been fascinated with China.

This book is a very well done blend of fiction and true history. It tells the story of Pearl's young life among the chinese and her friendship with Willow. Willow is probably a composite of many friends Pearl actually
May 31, 2010 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
This was an unexpected surprise, to say the least, and a good one at that! I heard the author, Anchee Min, on NPR one day, talking about Pearl S. Buck and how Anchee Min's new novel was inspired by Pearl Buck's love for the Chinese people.

Growing up, Anchee Min had been told, by the Communist government of China, that she is to hate Pearl Buck, because she was a Christian and a North American (although Pearl Buck was raised in Zhenjiang, China). Later on in life, when Anchee Min had moved to Nor
P.V. LeForge
Oct 13, 2012 P.V. LeForge rated it it was ok
As a teenager in China during the Cultural Revolution, author Anchee Min was asked to denounce the so-called "American cultural imperialist" Pearl Buck. Years later, in the U. S., she had the opportunity of reading Buck's work and was ashamed that she had been forced to write against someone who obviously knew China and its people so well. Pearl of China is her paean to Buck, and as such is a touching reminder of a writer who, despite winning the Nobel Prize in 1938, is mostly dismissed by this ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Ok, I was trying to get a good sense of how I felt reading this book. I read The Last Empress and I also read The Good Earth. Because I had a little insight of the author and her subject, I thought I would LOVE this book. I didn't. The Last Empress was full of color and life; this book wasn't. The Good Earth was deep and emotional; this book wasn't.
I have deep respect for both authors and it is very interesting to understand the life of an American with a Chinese heart in China in the early 190
Apr 06, 2010 Kiri rated it liked it
Pearl of China is a fictional composite of probable people in China known to Pearl S. Buck throughout her life. The narrator of the tale is Willow, an early childhood friend of Pearl's who tells of Pearl's life and childhood in Chinag-kua, and companions her periodically as Pearl returns to China before leaving with the advent of Mao's takeover and the expulsion of foreigners. Moving through the major events of Chinese history and politics (with some serious literary license) until the end of ...more
Aug 15, 2010 Withani rated it it was ok
Wow, what a disappointing book. Having read several of Pearl S. Buck's novels years and years ago, I was excited to come across Pearl of China on the "New Acquisitions" shelf at the library. The idea of learning about the woman who sculpted such wonderful stories was irresistable, but this book did not satisfy. In fact, I felt a bit taken advantage of - the story told only snippets of Buck's life, but page after page of her childhood friend, Willow Yee. This wasn't a problem in itself as Willow ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok
"Willow of China" would have been more appropriate
Just used Pearl to make a buck

This piece of historical fiction supposedly "brings new color to the remarkable life of Pearl S. Buck, illuminated by the sweep of history and an intimate, unforgettable friendship". But that was NOT the case. There was a sweep of history that was revealed through Pearl's "friend" Willow but the friendship was a mere contrivance to provide this sweep of history.

There was little in-depth revelation of Pearl S Buck; s
AdultFiction Teton County Library
TCL Call #: Fiction Min

Rebecca - five stars

A fantastic way to see China through the eyes of a very spunky Willow, who the book introduces us to as a 9-year-old at the end of the 19th century. Willow meets Pearl, the eldest daughter of a zealous American missionary. Pearl is head-strong, independent and fiercely intelligent, and will grow up to be Pearl S Buck, the Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning writer and humanitarian activist. You probably remember reading Pearl Buck in school. This fictiona
Yudhi Herwibowo
May 28, 2012 Yudhi Herwibowo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
dan di antara tumpukan buku-buku,yang jumlahnya ratusan lebih itu

aku merasa sangat beruntung, otak ini menggerakkan tanganku memilih buku ini untuk kubaca…

Aku bagai ingin menjadi bocah kecil yang bersembunyi di balik rerumputan lebat dan melihat dua orang perempuan itu, seorang China dan seorang berambut pirang, yang sedang berpandangan dalam suasana hiruk pikuk di dekat sebuah desa bernama Ciang-kiang.

“Aku akan membawakan bunga-bunga segar ke makam Carrie di musim semi.” Suara perempuan China i
Jul 29, 2010 Alicia rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
Pearl of China takes place at the end of the 19th century. The book follows the fictional friendship of Willow and Pearl S. Buck. I was excited when I picked this book up from the library. I’ve read several of Anchee Min’s books and enjoyed them all, (and I’m a fan of Pearl S. Buck,) however I was disappointed by her latest book, Pearl of China.

At times in the book the text would seem stiff, and I was reminded of a textbook. An example of this would, “Many years later after ___’s death, and afte
Apr 29, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it
This novel envisions Pearl Buck's life in China. The story is told by a fictional childhood friend, Willow. The narrative somewhat parallels the Sydenstricker family's life in China as presented in Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth through Pearl's young adulthood. Poetic license is taken with events following Nanking, for instance Absalom and Pearl go to Japan before Absalom returns to China.

The rigid missionary father Absalom, while headstrong and difficult, is somewhat air brushed
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 23, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it liked it
‘Do you know that Chinese is a very dangerous language for foreigners? One slip in tone and ‘Good morning’ becomes ‘Let us go to bed together’.’

While this novel is constructed around the early life of Pearl S. Buck in China, she is only part of the unfolding story. The protagonist is a fictional Chinese girl named Willow, the only child of a destitute family living in Chin-kiang at the end of the 19th century. Pearl Sydenstricker was the elder daughter of zealous Christian missionaries from Amer
May 09, 2013 Imas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: karya-perempuan
Diilhami kisah kehidupan Pearl S.Buck di China,buku ini sangat menyentuh hati. Cerita utamanya tentang persahabatan luarbiasa Pearl dan Willow. Willow sendiri adalah teman fiksi alias rekaan penulis berdasarkan gabungan teman-teman Pearl selama di China. Pearl S.Buck sebagaimana diketahui adalah seorang penulis dunia,penerima nobel dan Pulitzer untuk karya-karyanya. Pertama kali berkenalan dengan Pearl S.Buck melalui buku The Good Earth, buku ini ku beli di Jayapura saat bertugas disana, tanpa ...more
Jessica Larson-Wang
Jun 08, 2010 Jessica Larson-Wang rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2015 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perla Chinei este o carte pe care am citit-o foarte ușor în mare pentru că are o narațiune antrenantă, presărată cu dialoguri, dar și pentru că oferă o imagine vie a Chinei de la începutul secolului XX până în anii ’70, o imagine fascinantă mai ales pentru cei aflați la primele întâlniri literare cu această cultură. Conceput ca o ficțiune istorică a vieții scriitoarei Pearl S. Buck, romanul este scris la persoana întâi, prin intermediul vocii narative a Salciei, prietena lui Pearl.

Prima parte, d
Jul 20, 2013 Kkraemer rated it liked it
Anchee Min wrote the story of Pearl Buck's life from a Chinese perspective, and wrote it in a rhythm and syntax that is perfect: Spare, subject/verb sentences with little embellishment... a simple, forward-moving narrative.

The story is told from the perspective of a childhood friend, the daughter of a con man in the town where Buck's father, Absalom, has been sent to convert Chinese to Christianity. Absalom was truly devoted to his cause, and Willow's father sees Absalom as a leader who can be f
Sep 27, 2013 Lianne added it
"Pearl of China" is a fictionalized biography of the Novel prize winning author, Pearl S. Buck. I felt particularly drawn to this title because Pearl Buck was my mother's favorite writer. The writer's life is portrayed from the point of view of Willow, a nine year old girl in the Chinese village where Buck's family are missionaries. Their unlikely friendship endures throughout their lives in spite of the upheaval of the early twentieth century. Because of Willow's involvement in the mission ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
In the small southern China town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two young girls meet who are destined to become life-long friends. Willow is a thief, the only child of a destitute family. Pearl is the daughter of a zealous Christian missionary and his compassionate wife. Both grow up to live eventful lives often disrupted by tumultuous events in early 20th century China. Pearl becomes a Nobel Prize winning novelist. Willow, educated by Pearl’s mother, becomes a ...more
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Pearl S. Buck 2 38 Sep 16, 2011 03:47PM  
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Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her first memoir, Red Azalea, was an international bestseller, published in twenty countries. She has since published six novels, including Pearl of China and the forthc ...more
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