Living Treasures

Living Treasures

by Yang Huang


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989596053
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Publication date: 10/23/2014
Pages: 318
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.71(d)

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Living Treasures 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Cee-Jay Aurinko for Readers' Favorite Yang Huang's debut novel, Living Treasures, takes us to China in 1989, the year of the student movement. Bao, a law student at Nanjing University, believed Tong when he told her that she would not get pregnant after having sex because it was her first time. A pregnancy test proved otherwise. Her parents wanted her to continue with her studies, but to do that, she had to go for an abortion and no one at Nanjing University could ever know that she was pregnant. After a two-day trip, Bao arrives at the village where she grew up with her grandparents. The fate of her baby is pretty much etched in stone. Will the abortion of her child break her? Will Tong ever forgive her for going against his wishes? As a child, Bao was quite the "miracle worker," according to her grandmother. Bao's reunion with her grandparents makes readers wonder how she will live up to that analogy, especially since her grandmother appears to be a bit grumpy at first. Her grandfather introduces both Bao and the reader to the keeping of bees, a development that the reader will find very intriguing. Bao meets many interesting characters while staying at her grandparents' home. I loved the insight that Huang provided when it came to the histories of Bao's father, her mother, and various other characters. The antagonist makes his actual appearance quite late in the book, so readers will have to wait a while for a taste of danger. This is one of those books where everything comes full circle.
Reader_Views More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (03/16) “Living Treasures” by Yang Huang is a moving story about Gu Bao, a young girl who grows up to be a law student at a Chinese university during a turbulent time in Chinese history. The year is 1989, around the time of the Tiananmen Square protest, when Bao falls in love with Tong, a young soldier. Though Bao risks expulsion for having relations of any kind, and Tong could lose his position in the military for dating a student, both throw caution to the wind, ruled by their passion for one another. Bao’s mother realizes her daughter is pregnant and takes steps to help her daughter before anyone finds out. Bao and Tong are very much against the drastic measures Bao’s family wants to take to “fix” the problem, but basically have no say in the matter. Afterwards, Bao is sent to stay with her grandparents at their home in the Sichuan mountain countryside, to spend a month to heal, both physically and mentally, from her ordeal. While exploring the countryside Bao meets and befriends an expectant young mother, named Orchid. Orchid and her husband Candor already have a child, three year old, Daisy, however, because of the one-child law in China; Orchid must hide out from the enforcers of this law, who narrow-mindedly perform unsafe abortions and sterilizations. I found “Living Treasures” by Yang Huang to be an incredibly well rounded story. It is full of relevant societal struggles, political aspects surrounding some of the most important events in the history of China, the trials and tribulations of young romance, and coming of age drama. While the writing is a bit geared towards the young adult crowd, the substantial depth of many of the issues in the plot makes it an educational, enlightening, and heartfelt read for any age group.
LexLuther More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to attend a talk by the author and picked this book up at a writer's conference. I absolutely adored the honesty and humanity of the narrative style! The writing and characters were so raw that I felt immediately drawn into the time and era. The cultural introspection was brilliantly done and the compact size made the story easy to follow. Furthermore, the book highlights feminist and social issues very well without being over bearing. Bao and Tong's character growth and self-discovery through out the story kept me turning the pages. I truly felt for Bao during her struggles. A must read!
TheAlexMac More than 1 year ago
I liked this little book. At times it moved a little slowly, but it was easy to see that the story would eventually get going. It was well-written and the action was easy to follow. This book represents a good insight into Chinese culture, and the eventual conflict was both believable and engaging, and inspired much empathy as the reader. I liked the characters and the story, they were layered and complex. The book plays on the natural inclinations of humans to be free but also the rigid training and social re-enforcement of the sometimes stern Eastern culture. I felt the joy of a girl having a secret like the panda and her secret boyfriend, but I felt the sense of hopelessness one feels when they want to be with someone they know their family will not approve of. This book is a good read for anyone looking to a good introduction into books that are heavy in cultural references, or just an engaging read. It doesn't take too long and will leave you satisfied on the whole. I'd recommend this book to a friend, though not a friend with a short attention span or a penchant for quick, easy or low-brow fulfillment. This book would ordinarily be a fairly fast read, but with the fall and holiday season, it took me a little longer.
DesertLorelei More than 1 year ago
Living Treasures takes place in 1989, a time of great upheaval and social unrest for many places in the world, but certainly for China. Gu Bao, a law student attending Nanjing University, becomes pregnant and must make a choice: raise the one child she will be allowed to have, or have a secret abortion and continue her studies. There are no alternatives, no middle ground. The consequences of her decision affect much more than her own life in very surprising ways. Huang's writing is immersive without becoming bogged down in details, using emotions, actions, and dialogue rather than the exact details of their appearances to create characters for the reader. Instead of simply writing "city life in China is not like village life," she describes the similarities and differences between food, clothing, and technology. Most importantly, Huang writes of the human struggle to survive with great sympathy, whether she's writing of Communist soldiers or peasants who just want to be left to live in peace.  The characters are real, so well-created and fleshed-out, that I forgot that I was reading a work of fiction. Gu Bao, in particular, is complex and interesting as she struggles to find and realize her own identity within a strictly regulated culture. Her motivations, faults, mistakes, and triumphs all build upon one another to create more than just a "Strong Female Character": Bao is utterly, wonderfully, human. Even the antagonists (Childless Du, in particular) are given sympathetic moments or exposition so that the reader can understand where they are coming from and what might have led them to commit acts of cruelty. There is good in everyone, Huang reminds us, though indulging that goodness and doing the right thing is frequently the more difficult choice. Rather than risk revealing too much of the novel's central conflict, I will simply say that Bao's selfless actions brought me to tears. To speak plainly, I really, really liked this book. I will gladly re-read it in the future, share it with my friends and family, and tell everyone I know that if you enjoy well-written fiction, you must give Living Treasures a try. Yang Huang is an author to watch out for; I expect to see many more insightful works from her in the future.
PracticallyPerfect More than 1 year ago
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Living Treasure is real, stunning, heartbreaking and intense.  The first 100 pages I wasn't sure how I felt about the book. It seemed to jump from incredibly intense to suddenly silly and childish. I felt as if the author was having a hard time keeping everything "contained" and at time couldn't keep the book on track. That was the initial thoughts- soon, however, the bigger picture starting coming out and I was seeing the book as how it really was.  Foreword Reviews called it "Deeply human and sympathetic". That review stayed with me the whole book. I was absolutely taken with Gu Bao from the start- a small child on a mountain to a university student in the heart of China. Her fears, heart and courage seemed to connect with me the same ways and I was never disappointing with her decisions.  That being said- having finished the book, I'm not sure where I standing with Tong. I didn't like him much at the start and throughout the book he waved on my certainty for him. He seemed to be a bit too "talk and no walk" for me than I'd have liked and I couldn't agree with most of his choices. Starting with his terrible knowledge on their first night together and ending with his vows and cuddles, I wasn't sure he could be the best for Bao- despite what they'd been through together. However, their romance was hardly the books main plot.  Living Treasures is the ideal book for anyone looking for something honest. It's got the magic and adventure of any other book but with the bitter after taste of bad decisions actually being seen through. It's a generous book with life lessons by the dozens. Gu Bao lived with her grandparents as a child, and only saw her parents every summer-busy people as they were. It's at her grandparents home where she first witnesses a miracle- a giant panda and it's cub. The memory of the giant panda eating their chicken, Cauliflower Tail, to feed it's cub teaches her more than she thinks and years later, when she's faced with loosing her school, home and dignity, does the lesson return.  A sudden pregnancy and then hurried abortion gives Gu Bao little time to prepare and in the span of weeks she loses her love and her child. Sent to live with her grandparents once more, she relearns the importance of parenthood and doing what you must for your child. Only without her own offspring to care for, Bao finds solace in another mother who's hiding from authorities in an effort to keep her second child.  Gu Bao becomes attached to the pregnant mother, as well as her first born, Daisy who she starts to visit and dote on often. True to life though, there are hurdles and anguishes to be overcome and suddenly Bao is forced with another sacrificing choice- run away for fight for another life.  Yang Huang's book is what I would describe as a tender bruise. Poking it hurts and looking at it might be awkward, but it's got a story and the pain is real. If you read one book this year, consider this one- it's full of real, achievable, human magic- you might even learn something too.
Esil More than 1 year ago
In the novel Living Treasures Yang Huang’s exquisite writing will engage all your senses—transporting you to China and the world of the novel’s heroine, Gu Bao, a young law student living during the time of the Tiananmen Square protests. Bao’s story is gripping and suspenseful, but Huang expertly weaves in moments of quiet, almost magical, beauty that will make you want to linger on pages even as you can’t stop turning them. Huang’s novel is a reminder of those moments in life when we have to make hard, sometimes heartbreaking, choices, and how those choices reveal who we are and what we truly believe in. Gu Bao and her courageous choices will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading—and, if you’re like me, leave you hoping for a sequel.
Vincent0 More than 1 year ago
It was simply awesome reading about the tumultuous Tiananmen Square protest in 1989. Very valuable information learned! Ms. Huang, did an exceptional job making this story appear real-life like. She clearly has a bright future as a writer. Cant wait until 10/23/2014 to own a copy. I am on the phone now spreading the word to frinds and family.
OKC More than 1 year ago
The story follows the life of Gu Bao as she deals with the changes in her life and those around her. The development of Bao's character and relationships are well written. I enjoyed reading this book and, at times, couldn't put it down. I will definitely be recommending this book for others to read.
Britaniaca More than 1 year ago
One may think this story is about Panda's, one would be wrong. Although we all love China's Panda's, this story is not about Panda's. This is a love story, a story of a young student finding her way in a China that is changing. A story of a girl who is much loved by her grandparents and parents, and has won the love of a young man. Unfortunately she becomes pregnant, and not married, aborts her child. In her grief she meets a mother who is fighting to have a second child and is in hiding. Gu Bao helps this family, and with the help of her brave young love, fights the local Government, to make sure this child is born. In the pages one moves with the student, as she grieves, grows up and grows stronger in her struggle to help bring China forward in an ever changing world. I enjoyed reading.
Qin More than 1 year ago
I read the galley proof of Living Treasures. Yang is a gifted story teller. The Living Treasures doesn't read like a debut novel. I love how Bao grow from a naive college student to a wise and determined women fighting for her and others rights. A must read if you're interested in contemporary China.
rmattos More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an incredible debut novel! I knew I would love this story from the minute I saw the exquisite cover! Yang Huang has crafted a story that touched my heart deeply. The characters were developed so completely and the scenes described in such great detail that I felt as though I was with Bao in China as she grew from a young college student into a mature woman. I admired Bao's strength and courage she displayed through all the sad events she encountered in this story; how she struggled to right the political wrongs of China's one-child policy in a very personal way, putting herself in great danger for the well-being of another young woman and her unborn child; how she selflessly helped the pandas and their cubs, how she nurtured others, and of course how she found it in her heart to heal and continue to strive to make China a better place for all to live. I loved the interactions between Bao and her grandparents throughout the story, especially the connection she developed with her Grandfather through his sharing his love of bees and beekeeping. And of course the ending ... which I certainly will not give away here ... but which held so much hope for Bao and Tong and their future together. Thank you to Yang Huang for the signed copy of this beautiful book. This was a story which I hated to see come to an end. I received this book from Goodreads Giveaways.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
I feel like I have unearthed another hidden gem! Living Treasures by Yang Huang is a beautiful tale of a young woman’s struggle for her own independence as well as the independence of the Chinese people from the brutal government control and abuse. Determined to become a lawyer and advocate for her people, Gu Bao attends university, but finds her sheltered world hasn’t prepared her for life on her own up close and personal with the unrest that is stirring among her fellow students. When a demonstration results in soldiers being called in, Bao meets a young soldier who steals her heart and her virginity. Confused, ashamed, yet craving this young man, she battles a war within between tradition and honor towards her family and the feelings she has for Tong. Forced to choose between her education, her goals and Tong after discovering she is pregnant, family pressure wins and she has an abortion, turning her back on the man she loves. Forced to recuperate in her grandparents’ very poor and very small village, Bao realizes how the weight of the government is truly crushing these hardworking people. It is time for Bao to do the right thing and stand up for those who are too afraid of the repercussions of such acts. Will it cost her re-kindled love with Tong? Will it cost her life? If she doesn’t take a stand, who will? With so much beauty and wonder in China, it is hard to reconcile what the Chinese people must deal with on a daily basis. Bao’s character is conflicted, confused and determined to make a difference, while lacking the maturity to find a starting point, yet as the story progresses; her personal growth is like watching a flower slowly opening to its full brilliance. The patience and love exhibited by her grandparents is a thing of beauty to watch. Yang Huang has written a smooth and flowing work of art through words that showcase the inner turmoil of the characters. The vivid scenes that are described transport the reader from their reading chair to the magic and beauty of a country torn apart by corruption and the lust for power. When an author can deliver you across continents to witness the world they have created, they have done a masterful job of writing.