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Pearl of China

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,497 ratings  ·  733 reviews
From the bestselling author of Red Azalea and Empress Orchid comes the powerful story of the friendship of a lifetime, based on the life of Pearl S. Buck.

In the small southern town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family, Pearl is the headstrong daughte...more
Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Amanda
**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...more
Chrissie
Apr 21, 2010 Chrissie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Tara
Shelves: china, bio, 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.

We...more
Laura
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...more
Karen
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...more
Gaby
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...more
Kathryn
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.
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...more
Susan
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...more
Todd Giles
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...more
Julie
"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...more
Helen
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...more
winda
Mar 26, 2011 winda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Kiri
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 Pe...more
Jennifer
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...more
Withani
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
P.V. LeForge
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
Laura
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...more
Jimmy
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...more
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...more
Yudhi Herwibowo
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...more
Jessica Brow
I wanted to love this book. I liked it, but did not love it.

This is an interesting look at Pearl Buck's life. Told from the perspective of a Chinese childhood friend (who is, in fact, and amalgam of many people from Buck's life) the story also gives a great deal of history of the social upheavals that took place while Buck was not in China. I found the Chinese history portions quite captivating.

Unfortunately, I frequently felt the book was lacking in detail. This could be overlooked because the...more
Imas
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 m...more
Peg

Although this story of Pearl Buck's life is actually a novel, the author captures the uniqueness of her life. Telling the story of Pearl's life, from her early childhood in China where she was raised in the Chinese culture, to her being deemed an enemy of China by the Mao regime, this story gives a revealing look at the life of one of our most famous writers. Author Mon's personal journey is also interesting, in that as a young Chinese girl raised during the devastating Cultural Revolution, she...more
Alicia
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...more
Carrie
Historical Fiction. Written from the perspective of Pearl's childhood friend Willow, a Chinese beggar girl, as the two grow up during the upheavals of Christian missionaries, Mao, and the Cultural Revolution.

Pearl was born to missionary parents, who visited America simply so their child would be born there and a US citizen. They immediately returned to China to continue their Christian work, and Pearl learned to speak Chinese before she learned English. Pearl attended college in the US, but alwa...more
Lianne
"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 scho...more
Amanda
Pearl of China is a tricky novel. Min set out to tell the story of Pearl S. Buck, perhaps the most famous and influential writer on China in the 20th century. But Min wanted to tell the story from a Chinese perspective, which becomes difficult after Buck was forced to leave China in 1934. The book continues on until after Buck's death in 1973, so a large portion of Buck's life is left out and the book instead follows the life of the narrator, the fictional Willow.

Even without Buck's presence, t...more
Susan
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 newspa...more
Kkraemer
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...more
Lorraine
I liked what Anchee Min did with this fictionalized account of Pearl Buck's life. I know the book did not get real good reviews--as good as some of the author's other books, but I liked her perspective. I think she captured the Chinese-ness of Pearl and how she never thought of herself as an American, since she was an American but raised in China. Sadly, Pearl Buck never had a chance to return to China, and sadly, even though she won the Nobel Prize for THE GOOD EARTH, she was never really appre...more
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Pearl S. Buck 2 35 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
More about Anchee Min...
Empress Orchid (Empress Orchid, #1) Red Azalea The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, #2) Becoming Madame Mao Wild Ginger

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