Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Third Son

The Third Son
by Julie Wu

Genre:  Fiction
Pages:  320
Published:  4/30/13 by Algonquin Books
Format:  book

My rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars

 I received an early copy of this book for review from Library Thing.

The Third Son by Julie Wu is about Saburo, who is the thirdborn son in his Taiwanese family. Saburo grows up during a tumultuous time in Taiwan, first being invaded by Japan and then by Chinese Nationalists. Saburo is also the least favorite child in his family; he is wrongly blamed for the death of his brother and constantly treated poorly and unfairly. Despite all these setbacks, Saburo manages to make the most of his life and overcome the obstacles put in his path.

This was a nice story, and for the most part, I enjoyed reading it. I couldn't help but cheer for Saburo, as he seemed to draw the short end of the stick constantly throughout his life. As with most stories like this though, I couldn't help but feel it was a bit unrealistic at times. Even though he went through a lot of difficulties, Saburo always managed to come out on top, time and time again. I know the point of the book was to tell his story of overcoming obstacles and difficulty, but sometimes everything just worked out too perfectly causing this plot to seem a bit contrived and unbelievable.

I think the first half of the book was the strongest. Once Saburo arrives in America, I felt my attention begin to wane at times. But still, I wanted to keep reading and find out if/how Saburo and Yoshiko would be reunited again.

Before reading this book, I knew very little about Taiwan's history. I enjoyed learning more about the history of Taiwan and the difficulties the country faced as they were constantly invaded and controlled by other countries.

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