Sunday, December 9, 2012

Red Scarf Girl by Ji Li Jiang

Red Scarf GirlThis book is a memoir about the cultural revolution in China, and I gave it a rating of three out of five. Ji Li is finishing elementary school when Chairman Mao and the Communists take over. The Communists try to get rid of all fourolds, any beliefs that have to do with the way things used to be. They try to stop signs that any people are better than others, but it gets out of hand. Ji Li's aunt is publicly disgraced, because she dresses too nicely. Ji Li's family is worried, because they have a housekeeper. The grandmother of Ji Li's best friend kills herself, because she is afraid the Red Guard will accuse her of something. Signs are posted all over the town with Chairman Mao's beliefs, and people are told what they are supposed to think. Ji Li is torn between trying to fit in with the new society, and her loyalty to her family; her father is imprisoned, and Ji Li is asked to testify against him.

This book is not for everyone, but it will be enjoyable for readers interested in cultural history. It describes how the Communists were able to take over the Chinese culture, and it is still in power today. Most of the citizens enthusiastically supported Chairman Mao when he first took power, but they became confused when they saw how they lost control of their lives. They lived in fear of the Red Guard and had no way to defend themselves.

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