During the late 1960’s, the government of China attempted to propel its society into the modern century. Following this push to overtake “Westerners” was an uprising that called for Chinese to learn from its peasants, thus adopting a simpler way of life free from western ideas. During this time of political and cultural turmoil, Moying Li struggled to find an identity and secure herself an education. This memoir is an account of that turbulent time, as well as her never-ending fight to achieve her academic and intellectual potential.
Much like some of the other government-upheaval memoirs I’ve read, this one was pretty heavy. It’s heartbreaking to read about how Moying loses everything she loves during the Cultural Revolution, as well as her struggle to obtain basic rights such as freedom of speech and the right to read. If nothing else, Moying’s memoir shows us how lucky we are to live in such a different society (whether or not we always feel that way). If you’re a fan of memoir or are studying Chinese history, give this book a try.
*IRA Young Adult Nonfiction Award, 2009
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