Thousand Pieces of Gold

Thousand Pieces of Gold Lalu Nathoy s father calls his thirteen year old daughter his treasure his thousand pieces of gold yet when famine strikes northern China in he is forced to sell her Polly as Lalu is later ca

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  • Title: Thousand Pieces of Gold
  • Author: Ruthanne Lum McCunn
  • ISBN: 9780807083260
  • Page: 281
  • Format: Paperback
  • Lalu Nathoy s father calls his thirteen year old daughter his treasure, his thousand pieces of gold, yet when famine strikes northern China in 1871, he is forced to sell her Polly, as Lalu is later called, is sold to a brothel, sold again to a slave merchant bound for America, auctioned to a saloon keeper, and offered as a prize in a poker game Complete with photographLalu Nathoy s father calls his thirteen year old daughter his treasure, his thousand pieces of gold, yet when famine strikes northern China in 1871, he is forced to sell her Polly, as Lalu is later called, is sold to a brothel, sold again to a slave merchant bound for America, auctioned to a saloon keeper, and offered as a prize in a poker game Complete with photographs and documents, this biographical novel is the extraordinary story of a legendary pioneer s fight for independence and dignity on the American frontier.

    One thought on “Thousand Pieces of Gold”

    1. This is an utterly delightful book. I recommend it. You need different books for different moods. This book will make you happy. I think it's because it is optimistic, that isn't to say bad things are excluded from its pages. That is far from true. The book is exciting - bandits, a fire, shootings. This is a biographical novel about the Chinese woman Lalu Nathoy (1853-1933), sold to bandits by her beloved father for the mere sum of two bags of seeds. I intentionally wrote “beloved father”. H [...]

    2. I really enjoyed this book, both as a bit of Idaho history and as a well told, and unique story. I read it while I hiked through the Frank Church Wilderness, where the Salmon River flows and near where the story primarily takes places. I read the ebook version which included an essay added later after publication in which the author explained in detail how she compiled the history and facts to tell Polly Bemis's story, told as a biographical novel. It's worth finding that version, not only to un [...]

    3. I loved this book, not only because of the good writing, but because Polly Bemis, the 13 year old girl, lived in Warren City, Idaho, where my maternal grandfather was born. My great grandfather and my grandfather knew both her and her husband Charlie Bemis. So, I have stood on the steps of her house in Warren and feel as though her history is also a part of my family's history.

    4. I’ve read a lot of books about pioneer women, but this one is quite different. It is the story of a real life woman named Polly Bemis who lived in Idaho during the latter part of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Polly was born in China but was sold by her father to keep the family from starving. She eventually was purchased by a Chinese businessman living in America. Polly was very independent and after she was became free from her owner, she became quite successful herself. She opened and ran [...]

    5. I read this book because it was a selection for my book club. I probably would have never picked it up on my own to read. Having said that, I found it interesting and an easy story to get involved in. This book is about a young Chinese girl who, in the 1800's, is bought away from her family and forced into slavery and a life of hardships and discouragements.It follows the life of the girl all the way into the 1900's, and her journey to America where she finally becomes free. It is considered a b [...]

    6. Added 3/27/11._Thousand Pieces of Gold_ (1983) by Ruthanne Lum McCunn GR reviewer, Sarah, wrote: "This is about one of Idaho's most famous pioneers, Polly Bemis." reviewers indicate this is easy reading and interesting, but the writing is poor.Adapted to film (1991):moviesflix/Movie/Thousdb/title/tt0100774/p"In 1880's China, young Lalu is sold into marriage by her impoverished father. Rather than becoming a bride, Lalu ends up in an Idaho gold-mining town, the property of a saloon owner who rena [...]

    7. McCunn's descriptions of the novel's settings are incredibly vivid and illustrative; her choice of words are definitely not superfluous which gives a touch of simplicity to the tale she weaves. The emotions she tries to capture of her characters in the novel are portrayed perfectly through her words, most notably the scenes that involved intense movements and actions filled with tension and suspense.However, it is important to comment on her failure to mention worldwide events, such as the Great [...]

    8. 11/16: I seem to always need a novel going, or at least some form of firm narrative. I'm on pg. 50 as of last night: incredibly zippy reading, not terribly wonderful writing either, though I am interested in the transportation aspect--the arrival in a new place and time that is perfectly and uniquely unfamiliar to me. I found myself wiggling my toes, grateful for the freeing, unbound feeling of the body during pregnancy. I may be wearing strange apparatuses (see: braces on both wrists, Bella Ban [...]

    9. This was an interesting story that kept me reading. it has a bit of everything - action, tragedy, some cultural aspects, romance and a pretty interesting main character. The story also happens to be true, even is some aspects are fictional. I wish other characters were a bit more complex, but for what it is, this book is a good introduction to the relations between USA and China in the 19th and 20th century, to the slave trade from China and the gold rush. It's a nice, light read, even though ma [...]

    10. In three hundred pages, it's probably difficult to really provide deep narrative of a woman's 80 year life-span, so I won't judge the disjointed story too harshly. The stories of women through history who toiled and slaved are a dime a dozen. But, I'm glad I read one of them. Very touching.

    11. This was the first book I read by this author and had inspired me to read all her books. The saga of Lalu, who was her father's "thousand pieces of gold", sold by him and ended up in the US, was riveting. I remember sighing after finishing the book and wanting more.

    12. I was really surprised by how much I loved this book! For me it was kind of a mix between These is My Words and Lonesome Dove. This was a fast paced, high adventure, romantic pioneer story.

    13. This book was just okay. Interesting story of a woman brought from China to California (and then to Idaho) during the gold rush era. The writing was juvenile, but the story kept interest.

    14. This is the simple story of a Chinese woman named Lalu Nathoy who lived from 1853 to 1933. It is called a biographical memoir but is written as historical fiction. The author has kept the essential story of Lalu's life, who is later known as Polly Bemis, as accurate as possible but has added a few fictitious characters to enhance the story.Lalu's story begins when she is 13 years old and lives on a poor farm in Northern China. When she is born her father calls her his "thousand pieces of gold" b [...]

    15. I read this book because it was a selection for my book club. I probably would have never picked it up on my own to read. Having said that, I found it interesting and an easy story to get involved in.This book is about a young Chinese girl who, in the 1800's, is bought away from her family and forced into slavery and a life of hardships and discouragements.It follows the life of the girl all the way into the 1900's, and her journey to America where she finally becomes free. It is considered a bi [...]

    16. While technically historical fiction, due to made up dialogue and insight into the protagonist's thoughts, the author stuck very close to the historical record in making this novel. As a result, the narrative doesn't flow as smoothly as in a purely fictional work. We jump around in time, and there isn't much of a theme tying everything together. Except for "life for Chinese people was really tough in the Old West especially if you are a woman." Technicalities of the law are explained well enough [...]

    17. True stories are the best! This one has its fill of sadness, though. Also, I kept thinking I'd skipped a section by turning too many pages, or that I'd missed things because of the mental fog that comes with being sick, but the way this biographical novel is structured is to jump from the middle of one situation to the middle of another scene without following the protagonist through every transition. Movies are cut like that, but I hadn't really seen it in a book before. This lady lived such an [...]

    18. Read this several years ago and attributed it to another book with the same title by Adeline Yen Mah.The story of a young girl who's father, although he calls her his treasure, ultimatly sells her when the family face famine in China in the 1870's. She ends up sold again, comes to America where she is enslaved until she is eventually lost (and ultimatly won) in a poker game. From her very grim beginnings, Lalu/Polly triumphs as an inspiring woman - a true heroine.

    19. The early part of the book held my attention with the hope for more. Ended up skimming the latter part, though. I do think this is an important story of the early West and there are several interesting elements to it. The latter part of the book settles into a story of pioneering and farming, though, and was not enough to keep my interest.

    20. What a life Polly has! Easy. Fast readGood on vacation. Note. Do not read the Essay about Lalu/Polly before you read the book. Read her story then you can see how true it is. Really shows how strong a person can be if she truly believes in oneself. As I read this story I just found it almost impossible to be true, yet it is!

    21. 3.5 stars, for sure. It was a quick read, but had an interesting story line. I really liked the strong female character and was pleasantly surprised to find out that much of the story was based on real events.

    22. I really enjoyed this novel. What a strong woman who never forgot her joy. Sad that she wasn't buried with Charlie though.

    23. I really enjoyed this book. Lalu (Polly) was an amazing woman and I'm glad to have read this book because had I not, I would have unfortunately never heard of her.

    24. I first read this book shortly after it came out in 1981, and I loved it. I've never forgotten it, have loaned my copy out, and replaced it, at least 4 times. I recently bought the New Edition, which contains additional information, and am so glad I did.In rereading the book, I realized I had remembered certain scenes accurately – and some that didn't exist at all ;-). Lalu Nathoy/Polly Bemis was a real woman who was sold by her father to bandits, smuggled into the US and, as the slave she was [...]

    25. I first read this quite a number of years ago and have come back to it several times.It is a fascinating look into the life of a Chinese woman trying to make her way in the New World.For some reason, this is usually referred to as "fiction" when it is, in fact, a biographical story. Unfortunately, the fact that it is mistaken for fiction entirely, has led some to rankle at some of the more violent events, even calling the characterization of the events leading up to Lalu Nathoy's arrival in Amer [...]

    26. A riveting book about the life of Polly Bemis.All in all, having read this for a class on the history of China, especially during the section on overseas chinese, I found the book to tie in really well to the topic at hand. And her life is truly interesting.

    27. It is not terribly uncommon for a book to cross genres, but it is somewhat surprising to find a biography that does so. Ruthanne Lum McCunn's biography of Lalu Nathoy/Polly Bemis reads like a work of historical fiction, but includes photographs of its subject and details based on historical accounts and collected letters. The story starts in China where Lalu Nathoy is 13 years old. She is her father's treasure, more valuable than "a thousand pieces of gold." But in mid-nineteenth century China, [...]

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