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Living Treasures by Yang Huang

Living Treasures

by Yang Huang

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This is a very well written and very touching story, about a young lady named Gu Bao who is studying to be a lawyer so she can protect people against government abuse in China. Her life takes a turn during the student's demonstration against the government in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. She becomes involved with a soldier, and her story develops at a nice pace. Her struggle dealing with her parents over an abortion, her move to live with her grandparents for a while, and the development of a friendship with an expectant mother who is hiding in the mountains from one-child policy enforcers to safely deliver her baby, all these situations are richly described, exploiting all the psychological angles, showing the struggle in Bao's young mind to do the right thing.
This novel makes us wish that this was really just a work of fiction and nothing that is described here really did happen in China, but I believe that this is only a wish. When a government tries to repress the free will of its people, it loses legitimacy and from there on, does not represent the people's will anymore.
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.
I received a copy of this book from the author through the publisher (thanks, Simone from Harvard Square Editions!) and I was not requested to write a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own. ( )
  rmattos | Jan 23, 2016 |
Living Treasures is a beautifully written story of Gu Bao, a succesful university student in China who finds herself in a situation that could ruin everything she, her parents, and Chinese society hold dear - she gets pregnant. Her transformation from a naive, quiet and reserved girl into a brave and determined young woman is truly wonderful to experience. Bao's determination to overcome her situation leads her to a meaningful and selfless decision; one that surprises everyone including Bao herself.

The story provides a whole new insight into China's politics and culture that is both disturbing and intriguing, and allows the reader to experience life from the perspective of the Chinese people. I look forward to reading more of Yuan Huang in the future.

Note: I received this book from Ms. Huang through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  TracyCampbell | May 30, 2015 |
I was pleased to be asked to review this beautifully written book from www.librarything.com.

This is a story written in China’s turbulent times. Gu Bao is a law student in 1989 at the time of the Tiananmen Square protest commonly known as the June Fourth Incident or the 89 Democracy Movement in chinese. The world could only look on as this became the Tianamen square massacre.

Bao meets a student called Tong, but there is heartache as the romance has to remain a secret due to the system. circumstances occur that Bao is forced to make hard and what we wouls see as impossible choices, her life verus the state and her family -the latter wins. She is strong willed and inteligent and she can clearly see that the system is not right and what it is doing to the people.

This is a beautiful romantic story with the back drop of China , the system and political scene of 26 years ago. the characters are written well and the author effortlessly makes them so real. The author captures all of this giving the reader an insight into this world and a time that we looked on in horror and disbelief.

This book has to be up there in the top ten in 2015 ( )
1 vote mexico24 | Feb 23, 2015 |
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

This book really surprised me. I was expecting something totally different when i read the Synopsis.

Heartbreaking and truly touching, the story is one of the most beautiful i've read. Rich in descriptions, transports you to the wonderful 1989's China, when students were against government and women had to deal with the one-child policy and everything all that this involves, being forced to abort in many occasions and being sterilized against their will.

The author did a great job at writing in this book. Highly recomended, worth every second spent. ( )
1 vote aguzWednesdayValo | Feb 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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.
Living Treasures expands into a deeply human and sympathetic portrait of people living as best they can in an imperfect society.
added by Yang.Huang | editForeword Reviews
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.
The personal and the political merge in Yang Huang's debut novel about a college student in post-Cultural Revolution China. 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 in Tiananmen Square sometimes 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.
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.
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Gu Bao remembered the time when she feared disaster. At five years old, she lived with her grandparents at Crystal Village in Pingwu County, Sichuan province. In late spring, she witnessed a rare phenomenon, bamboo flowering over large areas of the Min Mountains. The blossoms dangling from the stems were an eerie sight, for they preceded the death of bamboos.  In the following winter months, more than a hundred giant pandas died of starvation.
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Gu Bao has always cherished a childhood memory of a starving panda who ate a hen in order to nurse her cub. Bao grows up to become a law student at a provincial Chinese university during the tumultuous Tiananmen Square protest in 1989. Falling in love with a dashing young soldier, she promptly finds herself pregnant and faced with the potential end of her academic career. Bao finds out what it feels like to be an endangered species. She searches for her inner strength while exploring the evocative Sichuan mountain landscape, discovers a panda mother caught in a poacher's snare, and befriends an expectant young mother hiding from villainous one-child policy enforcers bent on giving compulsory abortions. All three females struggle against society to preserve the treasure of their little ones. Can Bao defy the one-child policy to bestow the gift of life upon a rural family, and help a giant panda along the way? She devises a daring plan to change the lives of everyone around her.
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