Sunday, August 21, 2011

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis

Book Description:  Young Fu and his mother are forced by a famine to leave their small village in the mountains to move to the big city of Chungking.  Young Fu is bound for seven years as an apprentice to the copper-smith, Tang.  Young Fu learns more from his kind master than just the skills required of a copper-smith.  From each adventure that Young Fu finds himself in, he begins to make his own opinions about the western world and life in general. Set in the 1920's, China is slowly changing as a country and Young Fu changes with it, from a boy into a man.

My Thoughts: Having lived near the Yangtze River for a few years I was intrigued by the descriptions made about the junks that traveled to and from Shanghai. What I really liked was the way that Elizabeth Foreman Lewis intertwined the old superstitions of Young Fu's mother and his newer ways of thinking. For example, she was highly fearful of foreigners, but Young Fu found them to not be scary and a few to be very helpful and caring. I enjoyed reading this story, though fictional, about this era right before China's revolution began.  Elizabeth had lived in Chungking during this time, so the descriptions of the streets and surroundings made for a fun, run down memory-lane read for me (even if it was a different era, somethings I found still the same...)