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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute tour de force!
I first read "The Good Earth" when I was a teenager. I vividly remember the feelings of profound sadness as I turned the pages, reading about O-Lan's interminable sufferings. She was sold from slavery into an arranged marriage, did back-breaking labour on her husband's farm, lived through drought and famine and the loss of her children. Even after O-Lan's husband achieved...
Published 15 months ago by michellesiew

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3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother...
I know this is a classic but save yourself some time and don't bother. However, if you are a poor high school student and are forced to read this for class, check out the audio book at your local library. Since I listened to the audio book, I can vouch for it.
I decided to give this book a try when I read about it in an article. To read this book, you have to keep in...
Published on April 20 2003 by Sarah Wu


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute tour de force!, Jan. 1 2013
This review is from: The Good Earth (Paperback)
I first read "The Good Earth" when I was a teenager. I vividly remember the feelings of profound sadness as I turned the pages, reading about O-Lan's interminable sufferings. She was sold from slavery into an arranged marriage, did back-breaking labour on her husband's farm, lived through drought and famine and the loss of her children. Even after O-Lan's husband achieved wealth and success, he turned to drinking, gambling and womanizing. The question is: how did O-Lan actually perceive her life? Did her stoicism originate from resignation to fate (acquired from growing up as a family slave)? Or did O-Lan have true grit, an undomitable will to survive and endless hope that the future can only be better?

I believe Pearl S. Buck was mostly accurate in her portrayal of life in China in the early 20th century. What she described in her books matched the stories told to me by my grandmother, who had spent part of her childhood in China prior to WWII.

There is no happy ending to this story for O-Lan, but make no mistake - she is the true heroine in this novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Jan. 3 2014
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The Good Earth is one of Pearl S. Buck's best pieces of work. The copy I received was great and cost including shipping was very worth the purchase. Received the book in 3 days from time of order, so much easier than going to the store. Thank you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars the good earth, Sept. 15 2013
This review is from: The Good Earth (Paperback)
A great book I discovered in my twenties. It is a book that will touch and teach and tickle. A must read for any reader. Then you need to get book two!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, Aug. 26 2013
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Simply written, kept my interest. I will probably read more form Pearl S. Buck in the future. Good, quick read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Dec 17 2010
By 
Heather Pearson "Heather" (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Published in 1931, this story is set in rural, pre-revolution China. Author Pearl S. Buck was born in the United States but moved with her family to China while she was still an infant. She lived most of her first forty years in China.

This book tells the story of a poor farmer named Wang Lung. He wants to marry, yet doesn't have to money for a match maker. His father goes to the local wealthy family, the House of Hwang, and asks for a slave to be the wife for his son.

From his wedding day forward, the fortunes of Wang and his new wife O-Lan change, mostly for the better. Not only does O-Lan run the house most efficiently, she also helps with the old father and with the farming. Two sets of hands in the fields lead to increased crop yields and money.

As I was listening to this audio book, I wondered if Mrs. Buck had accurately presented the lives of farmers in China at that time. Several reviews that I checked confirm my impressions.

Spoiler Alert

The other thing that struck me about this book was how the author was able to portray the desperation of the people during the various hardships. The stoic acceptance by O-Lan of the death of her second daughter, born during the drought. I couldn't imagine what Wang went through when he took his newborn daughter from O-Lan, knowing that he would have to let her die so the rest of them could survive, but I could feel his anguish.

Alert Over

I loved this book. It didn't matter that it was published almost 80 years ago. It still came across as fresh material and still relevant. There are still many areas of this world where people farm and try to eke out a living.

Blackstone Audio produced this audio book in 2007. It was read by Anthony Heald. Mr. Heald has a very enjoyable reading voice and it added to my enjoyment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Window into early 1900 China, June 3 2010
By 
Richard J. Mcisaac (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
THE GOOD EARTH, Pearl Buck, Washington Sq. Press, 1931, pp357

This novel should be read before SONS which is a continuation of The Good Earth. Pearl lived in China a great deal of her life and what she writes in her novels reveals much about Chinese life in the early 1900's. This novel is about Wang Lung, a very poor farmer who ekes out a living from his meagre land which barely sustains him and his father. He is about to be married.
His life is arduous and totally dependent on what he produces from the land. He represents the utterly poor of China and through Pearl's first-hand knowledge, we get glimpses of how gruesome life must have been. The story centres around Wang and his children as they grow up and the father's hopes for each. He recognizes and values that it is the land which sustains them, and he continues to buy any available. Unfortunately, as he gains in wealth, he and the children lose sight of the source of this wealth and the further removed from the land they become, the more serious the consequences: 'Land is one's flesh and blood.' (p. 52)
Even if one loves the land however, one is subject to the whims of nature and man's interference. So we experience such hardships as backbreaking work and hours, storms, floods, drought, grasshoppers and wars. The good years and harvests are rewarding but the hardships mean life and death. Pearl doesn't invent these hardships ' millions of Chinese starved to death and millions more died due to robbers, lords of war and rebellions. She alludes to most of these.
Wang's first love is the land but as they age, the children distract him away. We get glimpses of the rich man's life, his servants, his way of life and his abundant choice foods. In opposition, we are constantly reminded that the majority in China are destitute just barely surviving while these greedy selfish men refuse to share. His children, his eventual yielding to the flesh and his pride lead to his downfall. He is never to find the peace he so desires in old age until: 'But still one thing remained to him and it was his love for his land. He had gone away from it....But his roots were in his land and although he forgot it many months....still he must needs go and he went.' (p. 353)
The Good Earth is a real life human tragedy and it is not a book one puts down easily as it unfolds. His devotion to his children, his kindness to his wife whom he did not love and replaced with another, his disappointments with their lives and especially that not one will carry on his legacy with the land, his daughter the Fool, all these events could occur in any household and the outcomes could be the same depending if we chose the path Wang did.
The detail Pearl provides about the impoverished and the wealthy Chinese could only be grasped by one with such intimate first- hand knowledge. Typically, she also includes a handicapped child based again on her own daughter's life.
This is a classic and in many secondary schools, it is required reading. The insights into the Chinese way of life are abundant and the human experiences are lessons for anyone in any place and time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable classic, Oct. 27 2008
By 
I LOVE BOOKS (Italy) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Good Earth (Mass Market Paperback)
I read this book years ago and it has stayed with me ever since.
Originally published in 1931, it won the Pulitzer prize the following year.

The setting is in China, right before the revolution. Wang Lung is a poor farmer in a village and the book starts with his wedding to plain O-lan. They have four children together, three boys and one girl. He is a very hard working farmer and bit by bit, thanks also to O-lan's skills, he builds a fortune by buying land from the House of Hwangs's family, landowners in a nearest village whose wealth declines dramatically due to their relentless spending.

We are dipped into Chinese culture, taken from the seemingly bottomless poverty of the early days throughout the rise to wealth, only to be propelled downwards again due to a terrible draught and subsequent famine, when everything seems lost and the family has to move to the city, starting all over again.

We are reading spectators of the rise and fall and twists & turns of Wang Lung's family. Many touching episodes have moved me throughout the book, especially the ones connected with hard-working, silent, subservient O-lan and later on, the ones related to their mentally retarded baby girl.

The story is absorbing and mesmerizing, exquisitely written. Page after page, truly unforgettable. A must-read classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful! Here's Why..., May 26 2005
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This 1932 Pulitzer Prize winning novel is still a standout today. Deceptive in its simplicity, it is a story built around a flawed human being and a teetering socio-economic system, as well as one that is layered with profound themes. The cadence of the author's writing is also of note, as it rhythmically lends itself to the telling of the story, giving it a very distinct voice. No doubt the author's writing style was influenced by her own immersion in Chinese culture, as she grew up and lived in China, the daughter of missionaries.
This is the story of the cyclical nature of life, of the passions and desires that motivate a human being, of good and evil, and of the desire to survive and thrive against great odds. It begins with the story of an illiterate, poor, peasant farmer, Wang Lung, who ventures from the rural countryside and goes to town to the great house of Hwang to obtain a bride from those among the rank of slave. There, he is given the slave O-lan as his bride.
This is a potent story, brimming with irony, yet simply told against a framework of mounting social change. It is a story that stands as a parable in many ways and is one that certainly should be read. The actual writing, page by page, is of great note here. The author's genius lies in the simplicity of her story-telling, her careful (and deceptively "simple") choice of language, which never strains. Quite remarkable. I certainly recommend this book! Along with The Losers Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez, a quirky, highly entertaining novel I picked up off Amazon, this is best novel I've read so far this year. Don't miss this wonderful reading experience!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Good Earth, Dec 8 2004
By 
T. Wentzell "Anna's mom" (Newfoundland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Simply put, simply splendid! This a good, easy read and very enjoyable! Highly recommended! Don't let the age of the book scare you - it's great!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read, learn, and be moved, Dec 2 2004
By 
Book Smart (Edmonton, Alberta CANADA) - See all my reviews
Really a brilliant little book. Admittedly, I was doubtful at first that this "old" book would be keep my interest. I found the story, however, to be deeply moving and as relevant today it was when it was published.
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