Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pearl of China by Anchee Min

Author Anchee Min has fictionalized author Pearl Buck's life. She tells it through the life of Willow, who is a composite of several persons Pearl knew in China over the years. I enjoyed the story, but I knew that it differed from accounts of Pearl's life that I had read years ago. Pearl was the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary. In the story, Willow is the daughter of one of Pearl's father's first converts who eventually becomes a leader in the church although his initial motive for joining was purely selfish. The book covers a wide range of time, including the period after Pearl left China during the Revolution and never returned. The biggest problem with the book is the liberties that the author took with the story. That is always a danger when fictionalizing the life of a real person. Perhaps the author would have been wise to stick with the facts and make that narrative readable rather than creating a composite individual who would have know Pearl throughout her time in China. This book was received as a complimentary copy through GoodRead's First Reads Program with encouragement to write a review.

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