Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Living Treasures Paperback – October 23, 2014
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Eighteen-year-old Gu Bao is a law student at Nanjing University in the summer of 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests and the ensuing political unrest. Despite the school's strict rules against dating and sex, Bao and her boyfriend Tong decide to sleep together. Bao becomes pregnant and is promptly taken to her grandparents' remote village for an abortion. While seeking solace in the woods to mourn the loss of her unborn "Soybean," Bao befriends a woman named Orchid who, in defiance of the country's one-child policy, is hiding until she can give birth to her second baby. Bao forms a relationship with Orchid and her family, becoming deeply involved in working to ensure the safety of the unborn child. The use of metaphor and symbolism is strong throughout the story, with many images of babies, mothers, and the visceral realities of life and survival. The theme of women's bodies not always being their own is prominent. The richly detailed expository descriptions tend to overpower the stilted dialogue, which makes the tone feel uneven and the characters difficult to become invested in. The slow pace and specific cultural setting may make this a hard sell for teen readers. For where William Bell's Forbidden City (Seal, 1990) is still popular.—Whitney LeBlanc, Staten Island Academy, NY
San Jose Mercury News:
"Gu Bao negotiates the shifting landscape of a country still struggling toward modernity, as China's education system, family planning policies and the deaths of her fellow students. . . push her to desperate measures. The story moves from city life to the rural home of Bao's grandparents, acquiring an epic feel in a compact length."
San Francisco Book Review:
"Huang's winning novel is more than another work of historical fiction. Living Treasures is endearing, extraordinarily moving, and its timely message about life makes it a must read for young and old readers alike."
Midwest Book Review:
"Living Treasures is nothing short of spectacular; especially for readers who want a story steeped in Chinese culture, tradition, and politics but cemented by a powerful young woman who emerges as a savior to others."
"Huang does an admirable job balancing Bao's individual story against the canvas of China's evolution using crisply drawn characters who reveal their layers as the story progresses. A knotty, engaging novel of China's recent history."
Asian American Literature Fans:
"The perils of Chinese motherhood in all of its contemporary manifestations."
"Living Treasures expands into a deeply human and sympathetic portrait of people living as best they can in an imperfect society."
"Huang's measured yet evocative novel heightens Bao's journey from timid student to defiant adversary in the midst of personal and political upheaval."
"This skillfully written work embodies a young woman's journey toward independence and maturity at a time when her country's politics dictate conformity and oppression. . . . Reminiscent of Yu Hua's To Live but with a lot less tragedy and heartbreak."
The Ocean Observer:
"All of the characters are rich and complex. . . . The theme is love and it circles round and back to it again and again."
Bea Dong, Eastwind Books of Berkeley:
"The universal story of women choosing their path, love, and control of life and body. . . . A poignant, touching story that brings more understanding of the lives of China's people."
Books and Movies: Reviews
"I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who enjoy a very well written work of fiction, on a very timely subject, that will keep them entertained for hours."
Jiayu Jeng, KTSF Channel 26 Talk Tonight host
"Living Treasures is a book that breaks your heart, and then mends it with hope. Best book I've read this year."
Patricia Harman, author of The Midwife of Hope River:
"Living Treasures is a treasure. Sensual, brave and relevant, the book takes you to a place in China that few of us have ever experienced. I couldn't put it down."
Bill Wolfe, Read Her Like an Open Book:
"With the national, political, and cultural setting involved here, this would be a thought-provoking read for high school students."
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Against the dire circumstance of repressions and injustices in China, the author still holds her hope high for a fairer China. A fatalist would have given up long time ago. “It’s Chinatown”, as one sensible guy once advised Jack Nicholson. The survivor instinct kicks in and many would just walk away from it. Yang Huang wants none of it. She is an optimist.
social change in China during the time of political turmoil at Tiananmen Square, each character in this
amazing tale seems so familiar that I feel I know them all, such is the skill of the author.
I wish to now see the countryside through which the heroine, 'Bao' moved, a landscape so engagingly described
in perfect counterpoint to the strife born by those suffering the vicissitudes of political and social oppression.
Living Treasure is real, stunning, heartbreaking and intense.
The first 100 pages I wasn't sure how I felt about the book. It seemed to jump from incredibly intense to suddenly silly and childish. I felt as if the author was having a hard time keeping everything "contained" and at time couldn't keep the book on track. That was the initial thoughts- soon, however, the bigger picture starting coming out and I was seeing the book as how it really was.
Foreword Reviews called it "Deeply human and sympathetic". That review stayed with me the whole book. I was absolutely taken with Gu Bao from the start- a small child on a mountain to a university student in the heart of China. Her fears, heart and courage seemed to connect with me the same ways and I was never disappointing with her decisions.
That being said- having finished the book, I'm not sure where I standing with Tong. I didn't like him much at the start and throughout the book he waved on my certainty for him. He seemed to be a bit too "talk and no walk" for me than I'd have liked and I couldn't agree with most of his choices. Starting with his terrible knowledge on their first night together and ending with his vows and cuddles, I wasn't sure he could be the best for Bao- despite what they'd been through together. However, their romance was hardly the books main plot.
Living Treasures is the ideal book for anyone looking for something honest. It's got the magic and adventure of any other book but with the bitter after taste of bad decisions actually being seen through. It's a generous book with life lessons by the dozens. Gu Bao lived with her grandparents as a child, and only saw her parents every summer-busy people as they were. It's at her grandparents home where she first witnesses a miracle- a giant panda and it's cub. The memory of the giant panda eating their chicken, Cauliflower Tail, to feed it's cub teaches her more than she thinks and years later, when she's faced with loosing her school, home and dignity, does the lesson return.
A sudden pregnancy and then hurried abortion gives Gu Bao little time to prepare and in the span of weeks she loses her love and her child. Sent to live with her grandparents once more, she relearns the importance of parenthood and doing what you must for your child. Only without her own offspring to care for, Bao finds solace in another mother who's hiding from authorities in an effort to keep her second child.
Gu Bao becomes attached to the pregnant mother, as well as her first born, Daisy who she starts to visit and dote on often. True to life though, there are hurdles and anguishes to be overcome and suddenly Bao is forced with another sacrificing choice- run away for fight for another life.
Yang Huang's book is what I would describe as a tender bruise. Poking it hurts and looking at it might be awkward, but it's got a story and the pain is real. If you read one book this year, consider this one- it's full of real, achievable, human magic- you might even learn something too.