Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan

Hardcover (1 ED)
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Editorial Reviews

Becky White
Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan has recently won the Parent's Choice Gold Metal Award for nonfiction ages 10-12, 2002. Read more about the award and the nonprofit organization at:
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Currently the owner of a restaurant in California, Lu looks back on a life that reflects China's tumultuous recent history, from wars and famine to Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. Orphaned at three, Chi Fa grows up amid hardships that will be scarcely imaginable to American readers. "Chi Fa, you are lucky. Good fortune will find you," his beloved Sister tells him when, yielding to her husband, she abandons him on another sibling's doorstep. The boy is shunted among his relatives, sold to strangers and eventually rescued from them by Sister; he is beaten, starved and forced to beg. At 12, he survives a dangerous trek to freedom in Hong Kong, where an elderly man to whom he gives food fuels his dreams of emigrating to America ("In America people eat three times a day. In America they are too full to swallow sorrow"), a dream he finally realizes at 20. The first-person narrative is pedestrian and even plodding in parts ("An important thing I forgot to mention is China's class system"), but readers who are not put off by the prose will be impressed by Chi Fa's perseverance, intelligence and goodness of heart. Photos not seen by PW. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This heart-rending memoir should bring young readers up short, and possibly keep them from complaining about their own lives for a while. Chi Fa was shunted from relative to relative, sold to an abusive set of "parents," and forced to support his family by begging. But despite hunger, cold, loneliness and physical cruelty, Chi Fa always believed what his older sister told him, that "good fortune" would find him. The book gives some idea of what it was like to live in Communist China, but it's not a history lesson per seĀ¾it is a timeless story of hope and courage, of how even the most painful moments of our lives can teach us. "They were there to teach me patience and courage; they made me strong," writes Chi Fa, who is now a successful California businessman. "Looking back on my life, I am glad for every person I have known." Not a bad lesson for today's indulged kiddies. 2001, Holiday House, $18.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Donna Freedman
School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-The power of positive thinking is amply demonstrated in this moving memoir. Born in the turmoil of the Sino-Japanese war in China's Jiangsu province and orphaned at age three, young Chi Fa ("new beginning") had more new beginnings than any child should have to face. He was passed from relative to relative and finally sold to a Communist village chief who treated him badly. Rescued by his sister 18 months later, he was returned to his unwelcoming relatives. At nine years old, he was the caretaker for a mute epileptic and then sent to Shanghai to join the brother and the family who had first sold him. In time, they ended up in Kowloon, where, for nearly three years, Chi Fa supported them by begging, until an aunt arranged for them all to migrate to Taiwan. For the first time in his life, at 13, he went to school, but after a year, he was pulled out to work. He contributed to that family until he was conscripted into the Taiwanese army. In 1969, he immigrated to the United States, following a dream he had had for 14 years. The strength of this book is in the clarity of Chi Fa's personal story, his optimism and determination in the face of incredible adversity. The grinding poverty of daily life in China is clear. Less trustworthy is his understanding of geography and politics of the world beyond his family. Such errors make this touching story somewhat less convincing.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823415601
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 714,840
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2011

    Very moving

    Chi Fa's story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2003


    Absolutly wonderfull, i have overwhelming admiration for him

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2003

    A must read!

    During our lifetime, we read many books¿most of them are soon forgotten. But Double Luck is a book I will never forget. It will be with me for as long as I live. No one can read this books and ever be the same. The story of Lu Chi Fa will break your heart, make you weep, and serve as a poignant reminder of how fortune we are to live in America. I recommend this book for all children and adults alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2002

    An Outstanding Book!

    An incredible true story about an orphan boy who never gives up and sees the good in everything. A story that every parent and child (10&up)should read together. Truly inspirational!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2002

    A Child Who Never Gave Up Hope

    This book is a true story of a little boy who has the will to survive evey obstacle that comes against him. What a brave little boy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2002

    Personal Victory

    No matter what, how, or why the life may hit Chi-Fa(Gordon), he never loses the connection with himself and overcomes, wins them all with his innocence, hope, and a dream. I am a mother and I recommand to all parents, and prospective ones too, for you and your child/children.

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