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The Inn of The Sixth Happiness by Alan…

The Inn of The Sixth Happiness

by Alan Burgess

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What a wonderful, inspiring story. This is not a young-person’s edition nor edited; it is the original book Alan Burgess wrote in 1957 (upon which the 1958 movie, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, was loosely based) with a “1969 Postscript,” to update readers on “what Gladys has done in the meantime.” A year afterwards she died. Burgess had met Gladys Aylward in 1949 and, according to him, she told him her story. Miss Aylward’s life was riveting and her succinct way of describing her odyssey was, it seems, her life-long habit of simplification: “I went to China Thirty-eight years ago in 1930, because I know God told me to […].” The Chinese called her “Ai-weh-deh,” the virtuous one. She knew not a word in Chinese and by the time she went back to England “she spoke, thought and dreamt in Shansi dialect.” Her faith was the kind that moved mountains, and on many an occasion reading her narrow escapes I had to admit that a miracle had been operated. This small woman went through valleys and mountains, on donkey back or foot, sometimes with no food, in a landscape swarmed by hostile Japanese and Chinese communist troupes, and survived to tell her incredible story. At the time “The Small Woman” was written, according to Burgess, “lots of schoolgirls did homework about what she had done with her life.” What has changed since then? This is a must-read for girls. They should not access the border-line pornography teachers—shame on them!—assign to them, the same trash with which librarians—shame on them!—load the shelves destined to their underage patrons. Both Burgess and Miss Aylward recognized the evils of communism, so it is a pity this book is not in the reading lists of schools. ( )
  MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
A great quest. ( )
  Greymowser | Jan 22, 2016 |
NOTE The book was originally titled The Small Woman, and this was the title on the edition I read. However, I could not find the book in the GoodReads catalogue under that name, so chose this edition.

What an extraordinary woman Gladys Aylward was. In 1930 she left England for China entirely on her own volition. She had quit school at age 14, having never passed a single examination (per her own recollection), and had worked as a parlourmaid. But she felt called by God to become a missionary in China, and even though no established organization would consider her application she was determined to fulfill God’s wish. She heard of a lone woman, Mrs Lawson, working in a remote area of China who hoped to be able to pass along her work to a younger woman. So Gladys saved the fare for a third-class passage on the Trans-Siberia Express, and set out for China trusting that God would show her the way.

This biography was first published in 1957, and the edition I read had an epilogue, added in 1969. The book had by then been made into the popular movie Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman. Gladys, herself, never saw the film and didn’t understand why anyone would be interested in her life. I’m just glad she agreed to tell her story.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Summary:A solitary woman. A foreign country. An unknown language. An impossible dream? No. With no mission board to support or guide her and less than ten dollars in her pocket, Gladys Aylward left her home in England to answer God's call to take the message of the gospel to China. With the Sino-Japanese War waging around her, she struggled to bring the basics of life and the fullness of God to orphaned children. Time after time, God triumphed over impossible situations, and drew people to Himself. The Little Woman tells the story of one woman's determination to serve God at any cost. With God all things are possible!
Personal Reaction: What an amazing story of service, love, and perseverance. I was truly captivated by her story. I was in awe at the struggles she was able to overcome and her ability to love the people she served and the respect she had for their culture.
Classroom Extension: This book was very religious, so I am not sure how that would work in a classroom setting. But, I feel it could be recommended as a non-fiction, historical book that focuses hard work, dedication, service, over coming struggles, an perseverance. It is also multicultural and focuses on the Chinese culture, traditions, and perceptions of that time period. ( )
  LorraineAllen | Mar 10, 2015 |
Missionary Gladys Aylward
  ForestCityBC | Jan 14, 2014 |
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The true story of Gladys Aylward who in 1930, at age twenty-seven, made her way to China to become a missionary. When the Japanese took over the country, Gladys resolved to lead her large family of orphans on an epic march over the mountains to safety.… (more)

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