Book Reviews

Review: The Scavenger’s Daughters by Kay Bratt

Extremely moving, this poignant story celebrates generosity, creating our own families, and seeing beyond people’s background.


After the Cultural Revolution, Benfu has taken to collecting and sorting through trash – a scavenger. During his days out, he regularly comes across a different kind of societal ‘garbage’ – the unwanted and abandoned baby girls. Together, he and his wife spend their lives and what meager earnings they can, taking in as many girls as they can and providing a life and love for them. But while they have done that for years, it is becoming more difficult everyday, as Benfu’s health declines rapidly and other obstacles are looming in the distance.


Rich in history, The Scavenger’s Daughters takes us one step further and is based on a practice where scavenger’s, despite their lack of resources, would take in orphaned girls and care for them. Much like Bratt’s The Palest Ink the book is heavily influenced by events from the Cultural Revolution and this book updates that story, bringing us into the 2000s with a new generation.

Continuing Benfu and Calli from The Palest Ink, the story revolves around similarly colorful characters. I loved Benfu even more so than before as he becomes a father figure to these abandoned girls. There is a much bigger story arc at work here, one that will stretch into Bratt’s other stories, so be forewarned that this book will place your feet squarely on a path that will take you through many other stories. It’s fantastic then that the book is easy to read, entertaining, and emotional.

Because of this mission that he and his wife undergo, it is hard to be objective about this story – being an abandoned girl from China myself. I was a ball of emotions this whole book reading about each girls’ story, the love that outpoured from Benfu, and the ending. I do not read a lot of ‘adoption’ representation (if you know any, PLEASE share them with me), and as a result this is entirely worth sharing. It touched a part of my heart and unlocked emotions that I kept locked down.

This book is moving, with the occasional cheese and neat plot wrap up. In my mind it is definitely worth a read. You can pick up The Scavenger’s Daughters on Amazon(US) and add it to Goodreads.


What was the last book that you read that you felt like represented a struggle you were dealing with?

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