Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

In The Lost Garden, Laurence Yep describes how he searched for his identity while caught between two cultures and seemingly rejected by both. The book has four distinct sections: The first describes his family and family life, the second describes his neighborhood and its people, the third describes the alienation that he encountered, and the fourth describes how straddling two cultures served him well in his career as a writer. In the middle of the book, the author includes photographs of himself, his family, and their grocery store.

Yep’s father, Tom, came to the United States from Kwangtung, China, at the age of ten. Yep’s mother was born in Ohio and reared in West Virginia, where his maternal grandparents owned a laundry. When his mother was about ten years old, the family relocated to San Francisco. Yep’s parents met at high school.

Yep’s brother Spike was ten years older and athletic; in fact, everyone in the family was athletic except for the author. Yep often felt like a changeling, wondering how he wound up being born into his family. At the end of World War II, his father bought a small corner grocery store, named La Conquista. Their home, Pearl Apartments, was on the top floor of the grocery store. He and his brother had to help set up the stock, price the inventory, and wait on the customers. As much as Yep hated the endless chores, the habit of establishing a daily routine served him well later when he became a...

(The entire section is 523 words.)