Bedside Books: The Good Earth

This book has been in my “Top 5” category for the past ten years. Possibly even “Top 3”. The Good Earth is one of a few books that has had a place on my bedside table since I was in Jr. High. I don’t know what it is about those books on my table- its almost like I can’t fall asleep unless I know I have the option of re-reading one of them.

I don’t know why K and I both love to re-read books- I mean, there are so many books out there that you could probably read for the rest of your life and never have to re-read anything. Come to think of it, I can think of a book about that very concept!! See what I mean? There’s really no excuse to re-read things. Yet, we do. And I think we do have some good reasons.

The Good Earth is the life story of a poor farmer in China before World War II. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as a wife, and together, they bear the brunt of living a hand to mouth existence. However, through hard work and frugality the couple manages to enlarge their property and make a better life for themselves. The story continues with it’s ups and downs as famine and drought force them to leave their home and ride the ‘firewagon’ to an unknown city to find work. Wang Lung’s wife and children are forced to turn to begging while Wang Lung pulls a rickshaw to feed his family. He longs to return to his land to continue farming, and worries that his children will grow up as thieves because they steal to feed themselves.

His life takes another drastic turn when Wang Lung unwillingly joins a mob that is looting a  rich man’s house. Wang lung manages to escape with enough gold to bring his family back home and start a new life. From then on, his sons grow up and Wang Lung faces the new difficulty of living a wealthy life and all of its hidden thorns.

Pearl S. Buck is an amazing author, and I highly recommend this book to all. If you have been looking for that next ‘Argh I can’t put it down!!’ book, I promise you , this is it. It is historical fiction, and its voice is a little different that most books today because it takes place in the early 1900’s.

You’re gonna love it, guys. Go grab a cold drink, sit in a shady spot outside, and enjoy.

~M

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