LO community embraces new LO reads book

LO community embraces new LO reads book

Clio Koh, News Editor

“Ba dies in the night, prompting them to seek two silver dollars,” begins the novel by C Pam Zhang: “How Much of These Hills is Gold.” Selected for the 2022 LO Reads program of the Lake Oswego Public Library, the novel tells the story of two siblings struggling to survive in the Wild West after their father’s death left them penniless.

“This particular book helps to deflate the romanticized myth of the gold rush, settling in the wild west, and immigration from Asia,” said Marcy Huss, LOHS English teacher and member of the LO Reads committee. “The author, C Pam Zhang also tackles racial and gender roles head on.”

“C Pam Zhang uses such a unique writing style, creating an ambiance woven with symbology and culture. The novel manages to touch each of its readers as themes of survival, loneliness, and identity flow throughout the book,” said sophomore Samuel Bohn, who is a LOHS student representative on LO Reads Committee along with sophomore Aria Hoch.

“A scene that tugged on my heart strings was when Lily’s mother, who came across the sea from China to the US, said that she had lost her child to the hills. Not only was that particularly poignant because of the era that it was set in, the Gold Rush which pressured immigrants to assimilate, but I could also relate to her sentiment,” said Hoch.

“My mother herself is an immigrant from China, and often one forgotten facet of assimilation is the distance that it puts between people. Although Lily and her mother were close, her home was in the hills, and her mother’s was in China. [The book] documents the immigrant experience so powerfully that it feels as if you are discovering a hidden perspective, an untold story,” Hoch continued.

“How Much of These Hills is Gold” is “important for our community because it raises minority voices and experiences. Additionally, it speaks to the many insecurities of growing up and adolescence, something that teenagers can relate to,” added Bohn.

“If students would like a book, they can come see me in room 201 or ask their English teacher. Ricky and Bill Korach donated 100 books to our school, and I really want to get them into student hands,” said Huss. “We have programming that begins on Friday April 1 and runs through Friday April 29 that includes everything from film festivals to art shows to information sessions about transgender history and westward expansion. You should be able to go to the LO library website to see the full programming, and each English teacher should also have a large pamphlet in the room that includes a calendar and description of each event.”