Peer Review Example

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Here is a story like one that you might be asked to review. After the story, look for the sample comments that follow.

"Grandfather's Journey From China to Santo Domingo"

I have often wondered about my Chinese grandfather. He died before I was born, and my family has never really said much about him. Someday I would like to go to China and find what is left of my Chinese family. But for now, I have to be satisfied with the few stories my father has told me.
My grandfather left China for Santo Domingo in 1916 with two relatives. His father had been a wealthy merchant, and two of his sons decided to go in search of new horizons. They settled in the Dominican town of Bonao and opened a restaurant called "Sang Lee Long." Even though it had a Chinese name, the restaurant served Dominican food and was very popular.
My grandfather's name was Luis Sang. He never told anyone in our family his Chinese name. He had gone through an arranged marriage in China and left his wife and two sons behind when he moved to the Dominican Republic. In his new country he married again and had 10 children: 7 daughters and 3 sons. My father was one of them.
Grandfather's restaurant got most of its business from travelers. But when the old highway that had united the south of the Dominican Republic with the capital closed in late 1959, Bonao was isolated. As a result, my grandfather's restaurant went bankrupt. He stayed home after that and never opened another restaurant.

(This story, by Karina Sang, was first published in New Youth Connections and can be found in Writers Inc.)

Dear Karina,

When reading your essay, I heard that, although you never met your grandfather, you are interested in who he was and what his life was like. He moved to the Dominican Republic from China, got married and had ten children. He opened a successful restaurant, but when the tourists no longer passed by his town, the restaurant went bankrupt.
I noticed you showing the relationship between your grandfather's life in China and his life in the Dominican Republic. I also noticed how well you described the sacrifices he made by moving. For example, you went into detail about what his father had been, and about the family he left behind. I noticed that you began the story by telling us why it was important to you, and by making us curious about your grandfather.
Finally, I wondered about the Chinese family he left behind. Did he ever contact them again? Did he miss them? I wondered if you could have told us more about that. Also, why did your grandfather just stay at home after his restaurant went bankrupt. I wondered how he was able to support himself, and why he didn't try to open another restaurant. What was your father's relationship to your grandfather? Does your father have the same curiosity about his Chinese heritage that you do?
Thanks for letting me read your story.

Your friend,
Bob the Peer Reviewer


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