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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

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  535 ratings  ·  100 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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Average rating 3.37  · 
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 ·  535 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Start your review 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
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
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title alone explains most of the plot so I'm just going to share some of the story's jokes with you

The new Beijing
Ole BJ has been buttered and Botoxed for the Olympics. Once a low-lying labyrinth of grainy neighborhoods, it now reminds me of Kryptonopolis in the early Superman comics, a futuristic metropolis with soaring trains and heatstroke-inducing architecture.

Instead of those grandmothers you could still see a quarter century ago shuffling through the rag stalls with bound feet, movie s
Jul 22, 2009 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 o
May 19, 2009 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
May 10, 2010 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. ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-books, humor
I found this to be both amusing and educational. I kept wondering how much of this was true and how much was exaggerated for comic effect, but regardless, the author deserves an award for cousin of the century. I am close with one of my cousins and I kept thinking if I was in the same situation, how far would I go. Thankfully, my cousin would never behave like Larry, but isn't there a song called, 'What I Did For Love?' Despite the comedic rants and conversations between the author and his cousi ...more
May 17, 2009 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
Sep 07, 2016 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. ...more
Jul 24, 2014 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 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
Todd Smith
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travelogue
I find the book “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” a lot to take in as much as the title seems to be. It was entertaining, intriguing, sad and bizarre book that I read quickly since I wanted to know what happens next. The hardest part of the book is that I never loved Larry, was he worth all of this and I don’t know. I think in asking this question ...more
Stu Strumwasser
Jan 26, 2015 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
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I nearly stopped reading this book. The author was taking way too long to make progress and Larry was annoying. But I soldiered on and got to explore China and the growth that Dan and Larry experienced. I got to meet some unusual characters and learn about China and healthcare. There were some unexpected twists along the way. It turned out to be interesting although it was not as funny as I thought it would be based on some reviews.
Feb 25, 2009 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. ...more
Suzi Yarin
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is hysterically funny and very heartwarming. Larry is a complete nebbish, and at several points, one wonders if he is really worth saving. The writer's compassion toward Larry is amazing. The writing, especially the dialogue, are great. ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and touching - a real keeper!
May 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I could give this negative five stars I would, horrible!
Jo Maeder
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Asa Rose is a fantastic writer. What a story!
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
got to read this, its wild and crazy and real, stranger families than mine exsist
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud funny and very touching all at the same time. A surprise twist at the end too. This was a great read!
Hsien Lei
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
His rendering of China, the Chinese people, the Chinese language and his cousin Larry was beautiful, haunting, and hilarious.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a ride. Once I got going I couldn't stop! Laugh out loud descriptions of the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies, and anomalies that are China. And a tale to beat the band. ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny-memoir
Funny, interesting, and informative. Never a dull moment in this whole (true) story. Read it. You won't regret it. ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The fact that the big international tribunal report stating the Chinese transplants were mostly from executed Falun Gong members while I was reading this made me a bit queasy.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: popsugar2020
This was an odd book, completely different than what I expected going in. I work for a hospital as part of their kidney transplant program, so the topic of transplant tourism has been covered at conferences and in journal articles, but I'd never read an account of seeking an overseas transplant from the patient and caregiver side. I figured 'Larry's Kidney' would be all about the bribes and under the table deals Daniel and Larry made in order to buy Larry a new kidney, plus the flak they receive ...more
Whistlers Mom
Oct 06, 2016 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
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this novel mostly out of medical interest to see what it is like to get an illegal transplant in China. (No, I'm not someone who is looking for a kidney!) I did find it amusing in some places.
I think the characters may have been mildly racist towards the Chinese. The author himself also writes about a Pakistani man he met who was friendly and gave him a ride to the train station, but because he shook hands with his mittens on, that must mean in different circumstances, the Pakistani man w
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Definitely a miss. Author is funny and I would try another memoir of his. I really disliked his cousin, so the constant recounting of their interactions as they tried to find someone to help them arrange a (gray market) kidney transplant in China was off-putting. His cousin is quite a character, the but repeated stories of often confusing grievances was not of interest. Not enough zaniness in the world to make up for the cousin.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I did not find this at all amusing. Exaggerated and over written as well as poking fun at other people.
Kathryn Donahue
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved the snark, the humor, the two main characters and the side love interest. Smart and funny.
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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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