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Walk Across the Sea

by Susan Fletcher
214 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by bookRacoon

Solid historical read about lighthouses and the 19th Century Chinese immigration.

Plot

Fifteen-year-old Eliza recounts her life two years ago, when she was living with her parents as the keepers of a California lighthouse. During that time, she struck up a friendship with a Chinese boy, whom many Americans despised. Despite her father's stern warnings against associating with "heathens" Eliza and Wah Chung developed trust and appreciation for each other and their very different cultures.

Morality

Eliza is constantly struggling between obeying her dad and being kind to the Chinese, as she wants to be. She ends up disobeying her dad by giving the starving Wah Chung food and sheltering him during a tidal storm.

Many whites are racist against the Chinese and hate them because they are willing to work for much lower wages, thus, in the minds of many, taking work from whites.

Spiritual Content

"Papa" keeps saying the Chinese are to be avoided because they as heathens who don't believe in God.

In the climax of the story, Eliza, in an effort to keep Wah Chung from a possible beating, yells at him that Jesus said whatever we do for the least of these we do for Him.

Violence

Eliza describes how much blood soaks the bed when her mother suffers a miscarriage. There's also a whole field where babies who died are buried.

Drug and Alcohol Content

References are made to strange or foreign drinks that could very well be alcoholic.

Sexual Content

A miscarriage occurs, and subsequently there is talk about premature births.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

A good read for several reasons: it features clear descriptions of what life in a lighthouse is like; sheds historical light on the massive Chinese immigration of the late 1800s; and explores how a young girl could stand up even to her parents for a conviction she found in herself and in the Bible to love those around us no matter how different they are.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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