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Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan Hardcover – March 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; 1st edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823415600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823415601
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Currently the owner of a restaurant in California, Lu looks back on a life that reflects China's tumultuous recent history, from wars and famine to Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. Orphaned at three, Chi Fa grows up amid hardships that will be scarcely imaginable to American readers. "Chi Fa, you are lucky. Good fortune will find you," his beloved Sister tells him when, yielding to her husband, she abandons him on another sibling's doorstep. The boy is shunted among his relatives, sold to strangers and eventually rescued from them by Sister; he is beaten, starved and forced to beg. At 12, he survives a dangerous trek to freedom in Hong Kong, where an elderly man to whom he gives food fuels his dreams of emigrating to America ("In America people eat three times a day. In America they are too full to swallow sorrow"), a dream he finally realizes at 20. The first-person narrative is pedestrian and even plodding in parts ("An important thing I forgot to mention is China's class system"), but readers who are not put off by the prose will be impressed by Chi Fa's perseverance, intelligence and goodness of heart. Photos not seen by PW. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-10-The power of positive thinking is amply demonstrated in this moving memoir. Born in the turmoil of the Sino-Japanese war in China's Jiangsu province and orphaned at age three, young Chi Fa ("new beginning") had more new beginnings than any child should have to face. He was passed from relative to relative and finally sold to a Communist village chief who treated him badly. Rescued by his sister 18 months later, he was returned to his unwelcoming relatives. At nine years old, he was the caretaker for a mute epileptic and then sent to Shanghai to join the brother and the family who had first sold him. In time, they ended up in Kowloon, where, for nearly three years, Chi Fa supported them by begging, until an aunt arranged for them all to migrate to Taiwan. For the first time in his life, at 13, he went to school, but after a year, he was pulled out to work. He contributed to that family until he was conscripted into the Taiwanese army. In 1969, he immigrated to the United States, following a dream he had had for 14 years. The strength of this book is in the clarity of Chi Fa's personal story, his optimism and determination in the face of incredible adversity. The grinding poverty of daily life in China is clear. Less trustworthy is his understanding of geography and politics of the world beyond his family. Such errors make this touching story somewhat less convincing.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I would recommend this novel to anyone- student or adult.
Emily Wise
It inspired me and made me realize that one can rise above tragic circumstances; dreams can come true.
Lee
So when I got a copy and read the whole thing FINALLY I knew it was one of the best books I had read.
An 11-year old reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I loved Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan because the boy, Chi Fa, was so brave and he never stopped believing in his lifelong dream. Chi Fa and all the people in the book were so real I felt I knew them well. After his parents died, Chi Fa's life was one hard adventure after another. He endured being cold and nearly starving, having to move every time he found a place to sleep, and risking his life to flee the Communist takeover of China. Through everything, he remained a kind person who remembered the people who had loved him. When Chi Fa wished on the Orphan Star in the sky, I very much wanted his dream to come true. It was exciting for me to read from one chapter to the next and I didn't want to put the book down. I intend to lend the book to my teacher and I hope she will ask our librarian to get a copy for my school.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book. I could not put it down. As a former teacher, I would have definitely read this to my class with a discussion to follow each reading. Hopefully, the children would get the message of perserverance, hope, hardship and injustice which was overcome to accomplish a dream. My only disappointment was that I want to know more about Chi Fa's life when he arrived in America. What kinds of things he did to succeed, how his past impacted his foundation of success and something more of his family life as it is today. Sadly, the book only covered his pre-America days. I am hoping for another book by this author.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sylva Mularchyk on October 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
DOUBLE LUCK is an exciting story for teens and preteens. It is the true tale of a child who had to find his own way in a hostile world and who made his dream come true. Little LuChiFa was born in Eastern China in the Kangsu Province in 1941, the Year of the Snake. After his parents died, he was shuffled among relatives and friends until he became one mouth too many to feed and he was sold for 500 pounds of rice to a Communist Chief as a slave. LuChiFa was five years old.
Among the tortures he bore was being hung upside down by his pigtail. The pain was excruciating. Ironically it was the Communist Chief who gave him his nickname of Double Luck. The
cruel man was not to know that one day his jest would truly become Double Luck and the little Chinese boy's dream of coming to America where he could live an independent life would come true.
The preparation of this book was a three-way undertaking.
A literary agent, Karen Grencik, and Rebecca White, an established author of children's books and editor of the
magazine A NEW DAY, collaborated with LuChiFa and the result is
this true story of double luck.
collaborated with LuChiFa
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Every day we hear about the countless children of the world who have no parents, no homes and who suffer the pain of constant hunger. Lu Chi Fa and Becky White have brought one of those children vividly to life in Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan.
The orphan boy, Chi Fa, is anything BUT a tragic character. His optimism, his love of life and the joy he derives from simple things, such as tasting a peach for the first time, light up every page. He shows maturity and courage far beyond his years as he faces many life-threatening situations. Along with the story of a remarkably courageous boy, we are given descriptions of a beautiful country and an insight into the customs of the Chinese people.
I read the book aloud to my 8 and 10-year-old granddaughters in just two days because they kept insisting on "just one more chapter". All of us enjoyed a truly exciting book with memorable characters. It would be almost impossible to read Double Luck, Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan without being personally uplifted.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real eye opener, especially to a generation of children in the United States who do not appreciate being born in a country that is prosperous and has opportunities afforded to all. My husband read this book one night and his remarks were "this is a MUST READ for the kids". I think about the abundance in our society and how our communities consider this a "given". I will always look at a bowl of rice differently, and be grateful to have a full stomach. I say a prayer of gratitude in the evenings as I cover up under a down comforter and am thankful for warmth and safety. I have met Gordon and he is a true gentleman and someone we are all fortunate to be touched by in this book. Thank you for the opportunity to be reminded of how blessed we are.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kathy J. Jones on June 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Lu Chi Fa and Becky White have collaborated on an incredible piece of juvenile literature that will bring hope and inspiration to any child who has ever felt victimized by a cruel adult world. In this biographical saga that takes the reader from the turbulent times of the Communist takeover in the China of the 1940's to the present day, Double Luck, as the author is known throughout his childhood, tells his simple, honest story through the eyes of a starving orphan. This work is replete with lush imagery laced with a love of nature and oriental culture and tradition. Lu Chi Fa's eyes seem to be focused ever upward in a world where he is surrounded by those who want him to be invisible, enslaved, or suppressed; and as he looks skyward, he finds cloud dragons of hope that take him away to a future full of dreams, starlit skies of night that comfort him with his ancestors, and radiant colors of every hue that paint a canvas of a bright and hopeful future he knows one day will come to pass. The language is simple, yet rich in texture and imagery, filled with allegorical lessons on character virtues that come to Chi Fa as he faces each new challenge or crisis. This format lends itself well to oral reading to primary age children as well as being thoroughly enjoyable reading for older juvenile readers. Although some of the imagery is at times repetitive (e.g. "dragon clouds" and "sliver of moon"), the frequent use of such images underscores the importance of nature in oriental thinking and culture, and consequently will not be lost on the young reader. Chi Fa's indomitable spirit, as so tenderly and skillfully portrayed in this moving story, will serve as an inspiration to anyone who has ever felt victimized, regardless of circumstance or situation. I highly recommend this book to juvenile and adult reader alike.
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