Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan by Lu Chi Fa & Becky White

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My grandma lent me Double Luck, the story of a young Chinese boy and the struggles he encountered before fulfilling his dream of coming to America. Beginning with his parents' death, the book follows his journey from relative to relative as he is always cast out eventually due to lack of food or lack of love. He stays with a kind old woman he calls Grandma and an invalid man in the throes of poverty. He is sold to a Communist family. He moves from his native village to Shanghai to Hong Kong to Taiwan before fulfilling his ultimate goal. His journeys are interesting and varied, but what stood out to me most was the person that emerged from those journeys.

Chi Fa is disowned, left hungry, forced to beg in the streets to feed his brother's family, and sold into slavery. He escapes beatings and the starvation conditions of Communist China. He endures unbelievable privations, yet his voice is so positive and hopeful throughout the book. He always treats others with kindness and respect, from the invalid whose seizures frighten him to the family that he supports by working essentially as their slave. He never gives up hope, and he never caves into the circumstances around him. I found it so inspiring. I've never had to deal with even a fraction of the struggles that Chi Fa faced, but traffic or a bad night's sleep can leave me shaking my fist at the world.

In short, through my ramblings, Double Luck is an amazing story that also speaks to the power of the human spirit. It is a short but highly enjoyable and readable story that I recommend to anyone who needs a lift.

4 stars

Warnings: None

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