Picks and Pans Review: Golden Boy

updated 01/23/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/23/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

By Martin Booth

As a child in the early '50s, Martin Booth was given the run of Hong Kong: While his father, a grocery supplier attached to the British Navy, sat behind a desk, Booth and his mother explored the colony's culture (the boy befriending a character who proved to be a mobster). Together they learned Cantonese and came to think of Hong Kong as their real home, trying to forget postwar England. As much as this is a look back at a golden childhood, it's also a celebration of the bond between an adventurous boy and his mother. Booth, who wrote numerous novels, died shortly after completing this book. His last words are eloquent and engrossing.

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