Lu, Chi Fa with Becky White. Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan. Holiday House, 2001. ISBN 0-8234-1560-0. $18.95. 212 pp. A 4-9 NF Reviewed by Sandra L. Tidwell This biographical account portrays the challenging childhood of Lu Chi Fa.Three-year-old Chi Fa was orphaned during the summer of 1944, right before the Chinese Civil War broke out. He had four older siblings, but because of hard economical times, not one of them was willing to take care of him. Chi Fa was passed from relative to relative and even sold for bags of rice to another family. He lived in his home village for a time, and then traveled to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and finally Taiwan. Through a myriad of physical and emotional experiences, which seem almost impossible to survive, Chi Fa holds onto the hope of future “good fortune.” Chi Fa finds hope in the moon, stars, butterflies, clouds, songs, verses, and dreams of flying dragons. He remembers a promise he made to his sister, Shiow Jen, to never forget that he is a good boy. Also of help is his mother’s favorite Confucian passage, “With course rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow-I have still joy in the midst of these thing.” At age twenty-eight, Chi Fa fulfills his life long dream of immigrating to the United States. Today, he is a successful restaurant owner in Morro Bay, California. This book contains a powerful message about perseverance and the influence small acts of kindness can have on someone’s life. Chi Fa learned from everyone, but the positive moral values he learned from his favorite uncle, grandma, auntie, and an epileptic man he briefly cared for were the most important. The chapter subtitles are a good summary of these lessons and include things such as “Be Strong,” “Be Obedient,” and “Be Hopeful.” These are valuable lessons for today’s youth, who are often overindulged and take a life of opportunity and choices for granted. A map of China is located at the front of the book, and a time line paralleling Chi Fa’s life with the Chinese years and historical events is included in the back.
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