Growing up on a farm with nature as your playground gives you a profound connection to the Earth. That life I do know, but I didn't know what the life of a Farmer was like in China. Pearl S. Buck wrote The Good Earth in 1931 to help others make a connection between Eastern and Western farming cultures. Although she was born in West Virginia in 1892 she spent her youth in Chianking, China. She learned Chinese before learning English and then returned to America to finish college in 1914. Don't let her credentials intimidate you, though, as it was written so simply and beautifully that a simple farm girl from Washington could follow along.
This book is part of the House of the Earth series she wrote that includes The Good Earth. Sons and A House Divided. I haven't read the other two but definitely will after this great read. There is also a movie that was filmed in 1937 that is not as good as the book, but worth the watch after soaking in the book.
The setting was 1920s China and begins in the humble dwelling of a poor farmer named Wang Lung who lives only with his elderly father. He finds a wife and begins to build a legacy by the fruits of his own land and labor. It's a story with many lessons of triumph and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, hard work, survival, frugality, love and humanity. Although, at the same time this story made me feel disappointment for the treatment of women and the horrible aspects of the slave trade. It's not often you can read a book that is both heartwarming and infuriating at the same time, but the author nailed it . I closed the last page with a reminder of the land that I was raised and instantly longed to dig my hands into its soil and hold the Earth from which I'm from.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (yes, I give a lot of 5 star reviews, but I'm very selective about what I read and I do get easily excited by a good read.)
Here is a throwback video from a hike we went on near our home in Darrington, Washington: