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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: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,946 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.

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Customer Reviews

When you read this book, you will find yourself laughing often.
Sandra Pennington
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
I just took the story for what it is, an entertaining read, written about a serious subject, but mostly in a lighthearted and humorous manner.
PT Cruiser

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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16 of 19 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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9 of 10 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Broderick on August 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I liked it. There just aren't enough human interest stories available that intersect kidney disease, especially considering the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the United States, so I welcomed a light-hearted romp through some very serious topics. However, the fact is that many Americans do resort to transplant tourism in an effort to save their own lives, so we do need to hear about these stories rather than stick our head in the sand.

You can certainly question Larry Feldman's (the author's semi-estranged cousin) ethics, but the author's ethics are more clearly stated at the back of the book under the heading of "Nice Clear Morals". To paraphrase, moral #1 is don't do what Larry did, avoid transplant tourism, and moral #2 is sign up as an organ donor (via the driver's license designation - go to Donate Life for more info). I can't argue with either of these morals, although I think it might have been good to add some of the statistics that clearly show that, on average, transplants from transplant tourism result in poorer outcomes versus transplants done in the United States. For instance, in China incidence of tuberculosis and hepatitis are much higher than in the United States and recipients have been documented to contract them from the donor through transplantation.

While I did have several chuckles, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "side-splittingly funny" is a bit of a stretch. However, Rose does flesh out these colorful characters quite well. Their odd quirkiness kept me reading. The foreignness of China was palpable and made me think of the 80's movie After Hours with Griffin Dunn. Daniel Asa Rose is a good writer.
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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.