Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze

Finished Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis. It won the Newbery Medal in 1933. Young Fu is thirteen when he and his mother move from the country to Chungking where Fu will apprentice as a coppersmith. The city is crowded, damp and dirty. There are many things to peak Fu's curiosity and he gets into a number of scrapes that way. However, with guidance from his mother, Wang Scholar and his boss and mentor Tang, he grows up to be a clever, brave and talented man.

The edition I read had an introduction written by Pearl S. Buck who won the Pulitzer in 1932 for The Good Earth. Lewis' backdrop of the turmoil, poverty, war, disease, flood, etc of early 20th century China was so similar to The Good Earth that it made me feel depressed. Eventually these things fell further into the background and Fu's character development became the center of the book. Somewhere around the middle of the book I began to enjoy it very much.

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