MY SEVERAL WORLDS; A Personal Record by Pearl S. Buck
Kirkus Star

MY SEVERAL WORLDS; A Personal Record

KIRKUS REVIEW

Not only Pearl Buck's most important book, but- on many counts-her best book, this autobiographical account of more than half a century comes at a time when its message is a challenge to all thoughtful readers. Born of missionary parents and brought up in a China that suffered successive internal upheavals and areas of peace and repose, Pearl Buck knew the Chinese as few white people have been privileged to know them. It took the defeat of Chiang Kai-Shek to determine the permanence of her residence in her American home, though her identification with China today is rooted in a China that she feels will triumph ultimately over Communism. The major portion of her book treats of her Chinese years and opens new windows of comprehension, appreciation and knowledge to those who will read. It is an absorbing tale, personal to the extent that one shares with her the impact of what she saw and knew and experienced. On the level of her personal relations she is singularly objective, almost detached, though one knows the facts, one does not enter into the intimacy of the details. Fighting Angel and The Exile, superb tributes to her parents, published some years ago, are further set in perspective by this her own story, and together give an extraordinary portrait of China from the time of the reign of the old Empress Dowager, through the Boxer Rebellion, on up to today. Almost inevitably the last part of the book, her twenty years of putting her roots down in her native land, suffers by being less dramatic, less pictorial, but they add to the sum total of a rounded personality. A good deal of space is devoted to her absorption in the problem of the unwanted children of the world and the constructive action she has taken in the founding of Welcome House; there is a running account of her various homes, of the children of her adoption, of her second marriage, of her journeyings, her friendships, the people of many lands that came and went. And always there is the deepening of a philosophical outlook, an inward searching, and a tempered view of what should be our goals, our responsibilities, in relation to Asia today and tomorrow. On Pearl Buck's name this should reach an audience that might otherwise sidestep a book which challenges our thinking. Don't miss it.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1954
Publisher: John Day