“The Star Maker” by Laurence Yep is the story of Artie, a Chinese kid living in Chinatown in San Francisco. Artie was thought of as sort of a bum or a source of comic relief by his cousins, but especially by Petey, the family bully. In an attempt to make Petey eat his own words and stop harassing him, Artie promised to give each of his cousins a firework by the Chinese New Year. When he ran into trouble accomplishing his task, he was forced to turn to Uncle Chester for help.
Ever a happy and carefree soul, Uncle Chester liked everyone and every one liked him. But even the ever-jolly Uncle Chester fell on hard times. Artie became scared that his Uncle would fall through on him and that Artie would become the laughing stock of the family. Can Artie and Uncle Chester get the fireworks before the Chinese New Year?
This book is all about being in a big extended family and all the annoying and loveable and sad things that happen. I am not generally an emotional reader but found that Uncle Chester was such a well-written character that when he was happy I couldn’t help but be happy, and when he was sad or upset I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. Uncle Chester was also a very good person and couldn’t just walk past a person in need. During the book a lady had lost her dog and Uncle Chester went way out of his way to find the dog and safely return it.
I would recommend “The Star Maker” to people who like books that fill you with infectious happiness as well as other emotions. This was a very entertaining book and I finished it on the day I started it. It was pretty short, but packed quite a lot of entertainment. The book is based on the author’s childhood memories.