Thousand Pieces of Gold (Bluestreak) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

ISBN-13: 978-0807083819
ISBN-10: 080708381X
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Editorial Reviews


[A] story of struggle and survival as a woman-and slave-in China and the American West . . . Fast-paced and entertaining-packed with adventure, drama, and inspiration. --Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, San Francisco Chronicle

"From Shanghai to San Francisco, Lalu Nathoy's courageous journey is an important contribution to the history of pioneer women."--Ms. Magazine

"This biographical novel has plenty of suspense and a strong story line. Reading it is a liberal education in one phase of pioneer life in the West."--Lucille McDonald, Seattle Times

"A valuable book that gives Chinese Americans another true heroine."--Maxine Hong Kingston

"Ruthanne Lum McCunn has woven an enthralling work of fiction from the true-life story of Lalu Nathoy."--Elena Brunet, Los Angeles Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ruthanne Lum McCunn, a Eurasian author, writes about the Chinese on both sides of the Pacific. Her award-winning books include The Moon Pearl, Wooden Fish Songs, and Sole Survivor. McCunn's work has been translated into nine languages and published in sixteen countries. She lives in San Francisco, California.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1694 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (April 14, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 14, 2015
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001O9LBDG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As an independent reading assignment given to us by our wonderful English teacher Susan Pearson, we had the privilege of reading A Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn. Overall, we gave the novel 4 1/2 stars. It was easy reading and very moving. Lalu,the main character, struggles her entire life while searching for freedom. After she gained her liberty her quest became a search for happiness and a sense of belonging. The novel begins in the mountains of China where a little farm community is striving to survive. Lalu's father takes his whole life savings and gambles it away on a risky crop. The whole family's lives were turned around and Lalu's papa shamelessly sold his most prize possession to the bandits. The bandits, like her father, sold her to a women who took her to America, the Land of Gold. While in the United States, Lalu becomes the slave of an old man. She had no freedom or authority in this situation. Lalu finally gained her freedom when she married Charlie. This book was sentimental to the three of us because we fell in love with Lalu and her character. When she felt pain; we felt pain. When she fell in love with Charlie; we did as well. There was never a dull moment in the 307 pages that made up the novel and it was hard to put down. We also liked A Thousand Pieces of Gold because it represented many different lives. Lalu (Polly-her American name) experienced many aspects of mortality and the human condition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read this book shortly after it came out in 1981, and I loved it. I've never forgotten it, have loaned my copy out, and replaced it, at least 4 times. I recently bought the New Edition, which contains additional information, and am so glad I did.

In rereading the book, I realized I had remembered certain scenes accurately – and some that didn't exist at all ;-).

Lalu Nathoy/Polly Bemis was a real woman who was sold by her father to bandits, smuggled into the US and, as the slave she was, found her way from San Francisco to Portland to Warrens, Idaho where her owner used her in his saloon as a 'bar girl' and where she became known as Polly.

Little is known of her life in China, and McCunn does a marvelous job of conveying the 'what might have happened.' Girls had little to no value in China, except to marry into a higher level of society if at all possible, thereby bringing some monetary relief to her family. To this end, many first born girls of even peasant families, had their feet bound. Lalu's feet were bound, and then unbound when she was needed to work in the fields to help her father. Although her feet never returned to 'normal' she was able to walk long distances and do field work on them.

Bandits came to her village, and she was stolen. The leader gave her father two bags of seed, thereby changing it from a theft to a sale. Lalu began her journey to probably Shanghai where she was smuggled aboard a ship bound to San Francisco. From there, she went north until eventually reaching Warrens, Idaho, as the slave of Hong King. There is a myth about gaining her freedom, the truth as we know it is that no one knows how she ended up free. We do know she married her benefactor, Charlie Bemis, and lived many years in the Salmon River area.
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Format: Paperback
Ruthane Lum McCunn's, THOSAND PIECES OF GOLD, is a heartwarming story that once read, can't be put down again. This novel draws the reader into the life of a woman's struggle to fight for respect and freedom for her own life. It begins in China as she (Lalu) was traded to bandits for two bags of seeds at the age of thirteen during the early 1870's. This event carries her through many times of hardships where she doesn't know where she is or where she is going. The basis through most of her life is to please men and fulfill their dreams. It is not until the midpoint of her story that her dream of becoming free becomes reality.
This story is full of exciting events that put the readers into the world of the characters. The most significant event that made me want to keep reading was when Lalu (later known as Polly Bemis) was traded to some bandits at the age of thirteen. This event occurs at the beginning of the story and makes it a joy to read.One can only imagine all the pain , sadness, and suffering Lalu went through as a child (and as a women). At first, she was terrified for what had happened to her. She thought she was her fathers "quijin"- his "thousand pieces of gold". She then realized that she was traded for her family to survive.
This book is purely amazing, from the beginning, to the end. This is an outstanding book for those that like drama and suspense. It is also recommended for those that can't seem to put great books down. It's like the Pringles commercial saying, " Once you pop, you can't stop." I really enjoyed this book, not only for its simplicity to understand, but also the way Ruthanne Lum McCunn put the story down on paper.
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By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Thirteen,naked,fondled,and used for auction" How would you like your body to be exposed in front of thousands of wild men waiting to purchase you as their very own?Lalu later known as Polly is sold by her father to a stranger wanting to use her for whatever his needs may be.Polly is later faced with one of the greatest challenges of her life.She is taken to America only to be used as a slave in the arms of a powerful man.Used for a brothel and is treated like human bait.Finding herself standing around thousands of men ,being nude,and having them touch her in special places to make sue that she was okay for them to take to use as thier slave or whatever there thier needs may be.Having death happen in her own arms.Polly struggles with her new life in America and hoping that it would bring changes but only to find that it gets worse by the minute.She finds a man who thinks might change her life forever,is this man a true gentleman or just another pig wanting to take what she has left. This must be one of the best books i have ever read.I found myself bringing the book to life feeling as if i was a part of the book.I felt like I was in Polly shoes,I cried when she cried,i got angry when she did.RuthAnne Lum McCunn really brought out the best in this novel and detailed the scene nary very well.I usually don't like reading books that talk about ones life but this one really got to me.I usually enjoy readingsmall simple books like from authors,R.L.Stine,and Christopher Pike.Just because i knew that the reading would get done faster.The stories would be just nonsense stuff.After reading this book I found myself inquisitive to read other stories such as this one and get into it as much as I did for Thousand Pieces of Gold.Read more ›
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