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Larry's Kidney    by Daniel Asa Rose Amazon.com order for
Larry's Kidney
by Daniel Asa Rose
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William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Daniel Asa Rose takes his cousin, Larry Feldman, to China to find and acquire an illegal kidney to save Larry's life. The seriousness of the quest is offset by Rose's sense of humor and Larry's obtuseness. This is a querulous man who holds grudges for a lifetime and puts out a fatwah on another cousin because of that cousin's treatment of Larry's mother.

On top of the obvious problems and ethical issues, Larry has also connected with Mary, a mail-order Chinese bride who has conned Larry all along and taken him for all she could his mother's mink coat, money for a lap-top which was never purchased, claiming she has a retarded child, etc., etc.. Then there's the pollution. Though the Beijing air seems okay, in the city of Shi it is impossible to see the tops of buildings. Pollution shreds one of Daniel's contacts!

Underlying the realization that what he and Larry are trying to accomplish is illegal (Daniel, many years ago, had an encounter with Chinese jails and lives in fear of falling into the hands of Chinese authorities) is Daniel's take on the Chinese of twenty years ago (the time of Tiananmen square) and their attitude to the world today. He finds them friendly and open, with a desire to help, but feels they can be inscrutable with their goals unclear.

Larry's Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China with My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant - and Save His Life is an interesting account of medical tourism, well worth the read. The narrator, an award-winning author, tells it like it is and I found his account intriguing.

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