Good Fortune: My Journey to Gold Mountain, published by Peachtree Publishers, is a memoir of Li Keng Wong. It is written for ages 8-12 to explain what it was like for her and her family to immigrate from China to America. It is not an easy subject matter to deal with, nor is it a difficult read.
Her family immigrated over in 1933, during the Great Depression, and when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was in effect, making it difficult for the Chinese to enter into the country. In fact, when the Gee family came over, they had to spend time within a compound on Angel Island (near San Francisco) for questioning before being allowed to truly live on U.S. soil.
Li Keng describes how much she hated the compound, how glad she was to be a family living in Chinatown, and how difficult life was in America during the Great Depression. She chronicles her family’s growth, successes and failures, and how they became citizens (by living in the country for seven years).
In light of the illegal immigration issues we face today, this book makes for good conversation. This is certainly not a new issue in this country, rather it is been tested before. In this particular case, we are given the opportunity to hear about a Chinese family’s efforts to enter and remain in the country.
This book has a lot of points for discussion in it, beyond the illegal/legal immigrant question. She hits on topics such as the value of the male heir within the Chinese culture, as well as engaging in illegal activities to support the family (her family ran a gambling house). There are a lot of talking points here. I especially think it is a good introduction to upper elementary aged children to help them understand both sides of the immigration questions we face today.
I confess this isn’t really what I was expecting to find in Good Fortune. I was just expecting to hear the story about a Chinese family who left their home country and traveled to America. That being said, I’m glad to have read it and to know of this book. You can find out more information about this book on the Peachtree’s website. Do. It’s a fascinating topic!
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.
Amy N. says
My dh read a story similiar to this in college…I will have to ask him if it’s the same one…I remember the Gold Mountain part in the title. I think we have it still in a moving box(so many books, so little room for them!)
Beth F says
This sounds really interesting. I like immigrant stories — something all Americans should be able to relate to on some level!
This book should earn an award for a best seller book!