In contrast to Britain's bleak post-war years, Hong Kong was an exotic and colourful destination. Accompanying his parents to this far-flung corner of the Empire, seven year old Martin Booth embraces his new setting with all the boundless enthusiasm and innocence of his age. With insatiable curiosity and enviable freedom, Martin experiences the marvels and delights of the Hong Kong of the 1950s and recalls them decades later, in rich and vivid detail.
An engaging and witty memoir of a special time and place.
The majority of the group enjoyed the book enormously, and it led to a very good discussion over a wide range of subjects. It proved an excellent introduction to Martin Booth's work, and we are going to look for his other books. Wellington 142
Martin Booth writes well. We all enjoyed the book, and for us this was two books. Martin's descriptions of his childhood in Hong Kong, and his free rein of exploration. The second book was of his parents - their marriage and their lives. We did question his memory of those early times even with photo albums and scrapbooks as aids.
We had a great discussion. When we later looked at the questions, we realised we had answered them all - and more! Diamond Harbour 001
A great read, loved by all except one. Hard to believe it's an autobiography and not a novel. Kept us captivated and enthralled. Havelock North 011
This is a lovely book about a childhood(or part of it) spent in the Hong Kong of the 1950s. It got us talking about memory, and the early events in our lives. Hamilton 029
The book was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. A real 'armchair travel' read for those of us who haven't been to Hong Kong, and a real pleasure for those who had. Christchurch 176
Enjoyed by all - a delightful book.
We all enjoyed hearty discussion of the laid back lifestyle, freedoms & liberties that Martin enjoyed as a Golden-Haired Gweilo. The family dysfunction was not at all subtle - with comments that his Mum clearly enjoyed the lifestyle & income her somewhat despised husband provided, & wondered what Mum got up to during Martin's escapades. We marveled at his amazing memory & wondered if he had access to letters he'd written to his Granddad, when writing his memoir For those who have visited HK, it was a chance to revisit an earlier time, & one of our group has now been there via google maps!
All our group enjoyed this book and found it interesting and easy to read. We had many memories of our own of Hong Kong which we shared- by Zoom. We were amazed at the freedom experienced by the young Martin and by his extraordinary memory. Much of the discussion was about his parents and their relationship and Martin's relationship with his father. At times we thought we detected the writing of the novelist Booth became and also thought that his boyhood memories were enhanced by his later time in Hong Kong.
An excellent read - entertaining and informative. Hong Kong in the 50s was very different from today obviously, and Martin Booth's mother was not a 'helicopter' mother! We all thought some memories had been 'enhanced' with time but were still interesting.
Our group thoroughly enjoyed this book with its vivid portrait of Hong Kong. However we energetically debated the relationship between the members of the Booth family - it was quite polarising as we found the author's father incited both sympathy and contempt. The freedom and safety Martin experienced as he explored his neighbourhood and beyond, had many of the group recalling their own childhood.
10/10 for Gweilo!! Fabulous discussion session, members were divided evenly between liking or disliking Joyce - some felt she was incredibly manipulative and pleasure seeking, whereas others felt she was trying to ease the burden (for Martin) of having an overbearing father! The discussion became rather loud and shouty - a sure sign that we had all read and thoroughly enjoyed the book.
We all enjoyed this book, and our discussion covered all the points raised in the discussion questions. Reminiscences from those who have spent time in Hong Kong added interesting comparisons of modern day Hong Kong to those of the author in the 50s.
A lovely legacy from Martin Booth, and so good that it sends us straight to his earlier list of fiction and non fiction.
We enjoyed the content of the book, and wished he had had time to write a sequel!
A wonderful and detailed picture of 1950s Hong Kong.
We enjoyed this book, finding it well-written, using excellent descriptive powers, and bringing the whole of Hong Kong of that era to life for the reader. It was also a rich description of the lives of the British colonizers who lived there, and it opened the personalities of each of the family members involved, to a searching scrutiny. Excellent material for discussion. In addition it was an engaging and easy read.
We all loved this book and found it easy to read - it was a really good story by obviously a great storyteller. One of our members Auntie's had lived in the same area at the same time, in the services and possibly knew these people. Another lady had just been there a month before - generated lots of discussion. Hard to believe he could remember so much when only 8-9 years old but obviously had a great childhood with lots of freedom. Some felt he was hard on his Dad but realised it was how he saw him as a child. We hadn't read any of his other stories but we certainly enjoyed this one.
Everyone really enjoyed this book. An easy read, lots of 'stories' within the greater story about a childhood in Hong Kong. One of our members had lived there, about then, so it was a trip down memory lane for her. We've read two of Booth's other books and they've all been great.
All of us loved this book. Most had been to Hong Kong on stopovers so memories were recalled and compared. The author has the ability to transport the reader to the country in which his novels are set so this and his other novels are highly recommended. The only regret was that he could not continue his story.