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The Star Fisher von Laurence Yep
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The Star Fisher (Original 1991; 1992. Auflage)

von Laurence Yep (Autor)

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7091024,883 (3.67)2
Fifteen-year-old Joan Lee and her family find the adjustment hard when they move from Ohio to West Virginia in the 1920s.
Titel:The Star Fisher
Autoren:Laurence Yep (Autor)
Info:Puffin Books (1992), 160 pages


The Star Fisher von Laurence Yep (1991)

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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
This is the first book I've read of Yep's and he is a very pleasant writer. It was well-paced and a quick, engrossing read with delicate, vibrant metaphors. I did learn some cultural information, which was fun. For example, I enjoyed the star fisher story and how it tied in. The bit when the mom says that she wishes Americans used the months in the womb as part of a person's age was interesting, as I have always wondered why we don't do that and it was fun to find out that the Chinese do! (Of course, they also went into some detail about why a family like theirs would have tried to make it in America, which was informative and helpful in garnering sympathy for their plight, but then also unfortunately later implied more than once that apparently families like theirs just want to use Americans for their money so then they can eventually go back to China better off than they were when they left.)

I would like to give it a higher rating, but there were some inconsistencies that twinged me, mostly because I felt it did not give a consistent character build to the parents, and a couple other things that are worth pointing out because they contradict with what I think is meant to be the spirit of the book.

With regard to inconsistencies, on the train ride, Joan discusses how her dad is the cheerful one that always says yes to things whereas her mom is a little harder on them. But, the first night in West Virginia, their father won't let them eat dinner with Miss Lucy because he doesn't want to accept handouts from someone who claims to be a teacher and also an American, but when Joan's brother and sister want to eat at their friends' houses the next night, their father says yes. So now he is okay with them getting handouts from people who are even more strangers to them than Miss Lucy is? Then, Joan thinks to herself that she wished they'd asked their mother for permission instead because she would have said they couldn't eat at their friends' houses, even though their mother was the one who argued with the father the night before, wanting them to eat with Miss Lucy so the children don't go hungry. So, now she suddenly wouldn't be okay with them getting a decent meal? So much so that when Miss Lucy comes over with leftovers that same night, the mother, after YET AGAIN burning the rice (more on that later), tells Joan to tell Miss Lucy to take the leftovers away and they don't accept charity--after (as I mentioned above) just giving a passionate speech to the father the night before that he should have let them eat with Miss Lucy because their children are starving. Whuuu...

Another inconsistency is that I am confused about the Americanization of Joan, Emily, and Bobby's names. Both of their parents seem traditional enough that they would give their children traditional Chinese names. It would have been nice if that had been addressed more.

I understand that these inconsistencies may have been done purposefully to show their struggle with wanting to keep their heritage while still being accepted, especially considering Joan's endless waffling about how to think about her mother, but they were pretty glaring and so hard to ignore.

Moving on to other areas where I felt the book was a little off, while it is mostly understandable that her parents speak Chinese in front of other people because their English is so limited, I felt it was rude when Joan and Emily were speaking in Chinese to each other in front of Miss Lucy when she had them over for tea. As a general rule, it's not nice to have furtive side conversations (no matter how innocent) in another language in front of people who can't understand you, excluding them like that. I felt that Miss Lucy was a lot more patient about that than was realistic, and also about when they broke her cup, which I saw coming from a mile way.

I'm not sure if it was intentional, but their father and mother are nearly as racist to Americans as the Americans are to them. At some point in the book it is kind of addressed when they talk about how many kinds of racism there are and how they are intertwined, but not to my satisfaction. They are constantly calling Americans stupid and lazy and spoiled behind closed doors (which doesn't even include when the father insults Miss Lucy right to her face in Chinese!), but it's not okay for someone to spray paint rude things on their fence or call them names because it's out in the open? That doesn't sit well with me. If this book is meant to lend sympathy to other races trying to fit in in America, I am not sure if this lesson in the father's (or the mother's) intolerance is purposeful or if we're meant to just be okay with the fact that it's okay for them to badmouth people in their own language behind closed doors, all the while they are desperate for money from people who openly deface their property. Essentially what I learned from the book is that we're all racist and also we're all misunderstood and so that's why we should tolerate each other in person but we can say whatever we want about each other behind our backs, LOL.

The mother's inability to cook was also irritating, although it was clear from the start that it would be the deus ex machina of this book, the thing that makes them finally be accepted. I could see the mother not understand pie-making, but the fact that, as a Chinese woman, she could not even make rice (which is essentially akin to boiling water!) was a little out there for me. And, it's not that she's a bad cook, it's that she wanders off, leaving pots unattended on the stove so of course the rice will burn once all the water has boiled off! I don't understand why no one points this out to her, even her youngest child Emily, who is quite the spitfire, especially since the mother is wasting what little food they have (you would think the mother would be more conscientious). ( )
  wordcauldron | Jul 11, 2018 |
Star Fisher- is a non-fiction book and it is about a story in which a girl named Joan. She and her family were moving into a new house. There are three children and two adults in this family. They speak Chinese and they don’t want to talk to others that speak other languages. Their mother is really strict about distinct things. When they got there at their new house the kids missed their old house because they had friends there. So they had get used to the new house. There was a lady who was waiting for the next people to go into their new house. So her name was Mrs.Lucy and she was in charge of the washing machines around the neigborhood. The dad lost his job and that is why he is so deperessed and mad. Mrs.Lucy heard the other night of the flame of the fire of how the stove was on. So that is how Mrs.Lucy was mad at the mother because it was her fault from leaving the stove on. There was one day that Mrs.Lucy was entering the pie contest which the mother wanted to be part of it too. She wanted to be awsome like everyone other american because she didn’t fit into everyone else does. So they were biding for money. So Mrs.Lucy had a lot of money because people loved her. So the mother nobody voted except for Mrs.Lucy she paid $15 for the pie so that everybody could be happy.

Opinion- I think that the starfisher was a awsome but sad book. I would give this a 4 ½ points because I just don’t like sad and emotional books. But other people might love sad books but I would recommened it to any people. ( )
  michaelp.b2 | Jun 5, 2018 |
What a fun exploration of the part of the immigrant experience less often told. How many of us knew, before reading this, that there was a Chinese laundry in West Virginia in the 1920s? The author admits to taking liberties for the sake of the story, but clarifies that the substance of the history is true - after all, it's his own family we're reading about! ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
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Fifteen-year-old Joan Lee and her family find the adjustment hard when they move from Ohio to West Virginia in the 1920s.

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