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Pearl of China

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  6,625 Ratings  ·  869 Reviews
In the small southern town of Chin-kiang, two young girls from very
different worlds collide and become inseparable companions. Willow is
hardened by poverty and fearful for her future; Pearl is the daughter of
a Christian missionary who desperately wishes she was Chinese too.
Neither could have foreseen the transformation of the little American
girl embarrassed by her blo
...more
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Amanda
Jan 23, 2012 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
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Chrissie
Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

We
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Susan Johnson
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.
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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
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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
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Elizabeth
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the new perspective on the cultural revolution in this book. It gave a mix of western and Chinese points of view. I would like to point out that I do not believe this book is about Christianity in China, it is more about the cultural revolution and how other beliefs fared at the time.
Gaby
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Aubrey
The Chinese don't need a blonde woman to tell their stories[.]
Pearl S. Buck was once one of my comfort reads, both for ease of engagement as well as the added bonus of Nobel Prize for Lit woman whose main topics involved the country many of my childhood friends and compatriots hailed from. Over time, I began to recognize the hegemony white people had over the tales of non-white countries, and decided to put a break on those stories, fiction or non-fiction, however well-intentioned. This has re
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Randee
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-books
I felt like it took me way too long to read through this book. I'm not sure why. It wasn't a long book. It wasn't boring. I didn't have that impatient feeling of "I can't wait for this to end." But, it didn't really grab me and I would not say it is Min's best work. It begins as the friendship of Pearl Buck and Willow Yee in a small town in China where they both lived. Since this is historical fiction, I know that it is not reality. I think one of the problems is the book is ambivalent whether i ...more
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
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Todd Giles
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kathryn
May 08, 2011 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.
Saleh MoonWalker
Though the setting and revolutionary backdrop are inherently dramatic, Min's account of an epic friendship is curiously low-key, with some sections reading more like a treatment than a narrative.
Susan
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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winda
Mar 25, 2011 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
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Laura
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Jimmy
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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
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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
Withani
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"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
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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
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Yudhi Herwibowo
May 28, 2012 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
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Stephen Gallup
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I blush to say that before encountering this rendering of the life of Pearl S. Buck, as told by a fictional lifelong friend, I knew nothing about her. I probably saw a copy of The Good Earth in my parents' house many years ago, assumed it to be something of appeal to old-timers, and forgot it. Intrigued by this story and quickly trying now to make amends, I explored online and found a comment that she's mostly ignored by today's cultural "gatekeepers." If true, that seems odd, considering her li ...more
Alicia
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Louise
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘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
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Imas
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
More about Anchee Min...

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