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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061708704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061708701
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,665,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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.


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Customer Reviews

The saga is at times hilarious as well as poignant.
M Lib
I like much more straightforward writing---TELL the story, don't make me figure it out as I go along---but I know not everyone feels that way.
Suzanne Amara
This is the most entertaining and enjoyable book I have read in a long time.
Terry L

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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12 of 15 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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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Faith Junaid on April 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was hooked with the first line, 'Huwwo?' Larry's Kidney, by Daniel Asa Rose, is indeed an 'adventure of a lifetime (really) -- a madcap odyssey of the heart (and kidney) in the most exotic country on earth,' as the back cover proclaims.

Larry is something else. Rose shows him as funny, exasperating, morose, kind hearted, unyielding, dictatorial, and expansive by turns, a moody man who is nonetheless charming and hard not to like. I believe that Rose shows Larry as he sees him, but he makes it clear in the book that he has a vivid imagination, so I'm not entirely sure Larry is exactly the man we're shown. Still, I think Larry would be someone interesting to meet, though I'd make sure not to cross him.

I loved the way Rose shows the people of China, very much as I might expect to see them myself -- quite confusing at first, then not as a people (plural), but as individual people, who still might be confusing due to language and cultural differences, yet people with whom it's possible to interact. I felt I was there with them as I read. (The fact that I was playing Chinese pop music as I read probably helped this a little.) And, though I don't go looking for it intentionally in what I read, I'm always delighted to see an example of my world vision* in reality, in the world today. For all his and Larry's cavalier naivety, before he returned home he saw (was made to see) some of the harsher realities and he still chose to remember the kindnesses bestowed upon him and Larry, to believe goodness was indeed goodness. Nobody ends up being a bad guy here. It's just that everyone sees things differently.

Rose's style reads/sounds as if he's there telling the story in person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tissa1020 on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I heard an interview with Daniel on KFI AM640 - Bill Handel right when the book came out (2009) - Bought it and never took the time to read it, until this Labor Day Weekend. I enjoyed every page. A serious subject but, written in a way that makes one at least think about being a donor.

- and being a Girl Scout - I got a kick out of Larry and his "addiction" to the various cookies!
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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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