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The Pearl Diver
The Pearl Diver
Author: Jeff Talarigo
In 1948, a nineteen-year-old pearl diver's dreams of spending her life combing the waters of Japan’s Inland Sea are shattered when she discovers she has leprosy. By law, she is exiled to an island leprosarium, where she is stripped of her dignity and instructed to forget her past. Her name is erased from her family records, and she is forc...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781400034918
ISBN-10: 1400034914
Publication Date: 4/12/2005
Pages: 256
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 32 ratings
Publisher: Anchor
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed The Pearl Diver on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Touching story of a teen Pearl Diver who contracts leprosy in 1940's Japan and her life through the years living in a leprosarium. Told through a series of mementos and memoirs, this is different from any other story about leprosy I've read. If you like this book, also try Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
reviewed The Pearl Diver on + 112 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a haunting and well research book.
A young teen is a pearl diver, a tom boy of a family that is hard working. She goes out each day with the divers, older than she.
One day she notices a spot on her arm that is numb. Later she has one on her back.
The spot on her arm gets cut during a dive and she never notices until she sees the blood.
She goes to the doctor eventually, and finds out she has leprosy. This is a dreaded disease and the ones who have it are condemned to a horrid life, they are disowned by family and friends.
She runs away but it found in a abandoned shed. She is forced to go to a leprosarium, and the indignatiies gave out there is worse than the disease.
She eventually find friends among the lepers, some in horrible shape, and nurses the sick ones.
She takes turns at night watching for rats to come and eat off fingers and toes, and sometimes the late night love fest of others that have married on the island.
She is force to work in the abortion area, where babies are aborted late term.
They give a trial drug to those qalifiying and it halts the progress of the disease but infections from needles become a problem.
She can leave, only if she already has a job on the outside.
But the stigma of the leper is such it will shut down businesses frequented by them, even if not marred.
She eventually dies on the island but make a impact on others and does have a full life.
Very sad and well researched, i recommend this book.
reviewed The Pearl Diver on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent--explores the question of what a person becomes after having been stripped of everything
reviewed The Pearl Diver on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked this book-it was a good insight to how people with leprosy were treated before the world became more advanced and tolerant
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reviewed The Pearl Diver on + 1340 more book reviews
Amazing, one of those books that will stay with you long after reading it. The opening brings you right into the story and makes you apart of her world.Beautiful descriptions and the flow of the story is so engaging.
Wonderful information with history and a personal connection. Hope he writes more books!
reviewed The Pearl Diver on
This was a wonderfully poignant, triumphant story. I found it hard to put down. wish Mr. Talarigo would write more books, other than THE GINSENG HUNTER.
reviewed The Pearl Diver on + 17 more book reviews
This is both a very interesting book, due to the subject matter and also a book that is beautifully written. The story takes place in post WWII Japan and is based on fact...that people with leprosy were so feared and shamed that they were removed from their families, their names changed and they had to live on an island for the rest of their lives. Although an effective medicine was found right after the WWII, the fear and shunning continued for another 40 years. The main character was a young pearl diver who was sent to that island after contracting the disease and the story is of her experiences. The author's style is spare and reminds me of the writings of ancient Asian poets. He uses a few perfectly chosen words and chosen "snapshots" of incidents in her life to paint a picture of her life. I'd recommend it highly.