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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 Hardcover – May 12, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly


“Along the way to finding a mail-order bride, falling in love with an alien country and saving Larry’s life, the duo experience extreme culture shock, flirt with espionage and discover unimaginable qualities in each other. Rose’s rhythms and comic timing, particularly in dialog with his cousin, will keep readers laughing throughout, even when they’re crying, frustrated or perplexed at the warts-and-all characters that emerge (Larry himself is particularly unpolished, gaining in empathy what he loses in likability). While they dance around the morality of their errand, the crux of the travelogue is two old friends learning to reconcile for a life-saving adventure in a foreign world. A satisfying, hysterical page-turner, this will captivate fans of travel writing and family narratives, with special interest for anyone who’s helped a love one through serious illness.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal


“A side-splitting tour de force that whisks readers off to China on a quest to get a transplant for the author’s cousin Larry . . . Larry’s challenging journey to China will resonate with readers who are rightfully concerned about the plight of American patients who may be relegated for years to an organ transplant waiting list.”
— Library Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061708704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061708701
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,962,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

UPDATE! "LARRY'S KIDNEY" has been listed as one of the TOP BOOKS OF THE YEAR by Publishers Weekly, and has been optioned to be a major motion picture. Since the summer, Daniel has appeared on NPR, CNN, The New York Times Op Ed Page, and over 35 radio programs. In addition, he has read from the book in Albuquerque, Boston, New York, Detroit, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Tampa, Portland (Oregon), Saint Louis, and Providence. Thanks to all who turned out!

++++++

DANIEL ASA ROSE is the author, most recently, of the world's first (dark) comedy about medical tourism. "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, ISBN 978-0061708701) is being 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" (Publishers Weekly starred review); "a side-splitting tour de force that will resonate with readers concerned about the plight of American patients who may be relegated for years to an organ transplant waiting list" (Library Journal); "skillful, funny, fascinating" (The New York Observer); and "one of the funniest, most touching and bizarre nonfiction books I've read. A remarkably talented writer and a great book" (Boston Globe).

An NEA Literary Fellow and father of four boys, Daniel was born in New York City and graduated from Brown University, which awarded him an honorary Phi Beta Kappa. His first short story was accepted by The New Yorker when he was 27 and he won an O. Henry Prize and two Pen Fiction Awards for the other stories in his first collection, "SMALL FAMILY WITH ROOSTER." His first novel, "FLIPPING FOR IT," a black comedy about divorce from the man's point of view, was a New York Times New and Noteworthy Paperback. In 2002 he published "HIDING PLACES: A Father and his Sons Retrace Their Family's Escape From the Holocaust" - a saga that intermingles a taut current-day search for the hiding places that saved his family in World War II with memories of the author's own hiding places growing up in WASP 1950s Connecticut - a book which earned starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly ("brilliant") and Kirkus ("remarkable"), as well as the New England Booksellers Discovery Award, a coveted place on the BookSense 76 List, and inclusion in "Best Jewish Writing 2003."

Currently an editor of the international literary magazine THE READING ROOM, he has served as arts & culture editor of the Forward newspaper, travel columnist for Esquire magazine, humor writer for GQ, essayist for The New York Times Magazine, book reviewer for The New York Observer and New York Magazine, and food critic for the past 20 pounds.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rose certainly has some amusing moments here, and his writing is zesty enough to create some entertaining interludes. There are a few touching moments, some nice local flavor, and some humorous bits of cross-cultural confusion.

BUT.
And this is one huge, massive BUT.

The central idea of Larry's Kidney is that as long as it's a family member you're saving, it doesn't matter how many other innocent people might suffer and die so that your precious family member can survive. He points out that it's illegal to do what they're doing, but as the title says, in his mind they're "skirting" the law. The tangentially mentioned truth at the heart of this book is that neither Rose nor his (unlikeably scheming) cousin Larry could give a damn if the kidney they're lusting after comes from a political prisoner. Rose even mentions the possibility and then quickly waves it off with the idea that, "What can you do? Larry is family. The prisoners aren't my concern, as they're not my family. Only their kidneys matter."

This is absolutely despicable when held up to the light of day.
So the families of a Chinese political prisoner don't matter, but your rather criminal cousin does, Mr. Rose? That is completely inhuman, especially in light of the constant Jewishness tossed around in this book. Almost every page has some Jewish reference or term. Fine. But isn't a huge part of the Jewish experience political persecution through the ages? Weren't Jews persecuted and thrown out of one country after another throughout history? And above all, did the Holocaust not teach us all the lesson that killing people simply because of their religious beliefs is inhuman?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dianne E. Socci-Tetro TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
May I say that if you have any morals at all you will not buy this book...and I thank God I got it for free and did not line Mr. Rose`s pocket with my hard earned book-buying money.

The writing is poor, the supposed "humor" isn't funny, the over use of Larry's speech impediment was extremely annoying, the non-stop use of dialect writing was in very bad taste...everything is just over done and I have to wonder how this book every got the green light.

If I could find some brain Brillo being sold by Amazon I would have it sent to me over night so I could get the remnants of this book out of my head. This was the most painful book I have ever read (attempted to read). I'm ashamed to say that I would rather donate my kidney to Larry than finish this highly disturbing look at kidney transplants and the high handed ethics of a certain type of Ugly American.

While I did get this through Vine, my reasons for choosing this particular book are not the same as most people here who had read this because they had traveled to China. I have a friend on the 74,000 person waiting list for a kidney and has been on this list for many years; I had hoped to find some answers in this little book of horrors, some humor, maybe some empathy and a side trip for Larry to hook up. Sadly I was hood-winked.

Imagine my horror while reading this unethical never ending, torturous book that I had recommended that they stock this in the dialysis department's library? I hope to God they will forgive me.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mary G. Longorio VINE VOICE on August 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Perhaps it is the fact I have worked in health care for almost 20 years, and in that time I have seen what kidney disease can do. Perhaps it is the fact I didn't find Cousin Larry very likable. I don't know what first stuck in my craw, but I did not like 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 even a little bit. This is not a light hearted romp throughout China full of cultural misunderstandings and slapstick brushed with the law. It was sad to see author Daniel Asa Rose get more and more enmeshed in the schemes of a barely likeable cousin (having a life threatening illness usually does not improve a person's personality of change their character). Within a few chapters I was weary of Cousin Larry and had a hard time enduring to the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Feinman on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was enchanted by this narrative and the heroics of everyone involved in this dilemma that was so challenging at so many levels. Of course I do not support many of the activities the Chinese government and so many others in regards to human rights. But that does not take away from the incredible sacrifices Dan made, his family made in supporting this trip, and all the beautiful citizens of China and the ex-pats he encountered who truly risked their lives as well to help him save his cousin's life. I read the book in a couple sitting savoring every word. When I was done I signed up to be an organ donor something I had avoided doing for year. Humanity has many different meanings but Dan showed the side of humanity I hope I would have in that situation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lou Evans on January 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a fun story to read and oh what a character is that Larry! The only thing I felt missing was more insight into the challenges the author faced being away from home and the challenges for his family. I know he probably did not want to make himself the focus, after all it is a story about Larry, but I thought that was one area I would have like to hear more about. Overall I would say buy and read this book, I was glad I did.
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