This is a powerful story of a girl who comes of age and fights to survive during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969).Nine-year-old Ling leads a happy life with her parents, who are both dedicated doctors. Her world gradually starts to disintegrate when Comrade Li, one of Mao's political officers, moves into their apartment. In an atmosphere of ...
This is a powerful story of a girl who comes of age and fights to survive during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969).Nine-year-old Ling leads a happy life with her parents, who are both dedicated doctors. Her world gradually starts to disintegrate when Comrade Li, one of Mao's political officers, moves into their apartment. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbours, and soon for herself and her parents. Over the course of four years, and despite witnessing many horrors, Ling not only survives, but manages to bloom as well.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-09 Picture book and cookbook author Compestine (The Real Story of Stone Soup) turns to 1972 China as the setting for her first YA novel. Eight-year-old Ling, the spunky daughter of two doctors, lives in Wuhan, China; dreamy and idealistic, she often describes her world in metaphor (about her neighbor, Ling notes, "Mrs. Wong was fragrant and warm like a red peony, which always welcomed visitors"). But the lives of Ling and her family are disrupted when Comrade Li, an officer of the Communist Party, moves into their apartment. Difficulties mount as friends and neighbors disappear, Ling's father is arrested and she endures vicious tormenting at school because of her "bourgeois" background ("At times I wished my family was poor and my parents worked on a vegetable farm... so I could have friends. But if my parents worked on a farm, who would treat their patients?"). Although her father has been jailed, her family starved and their books burned, Ling fights to keep her long hair, a symbol of dignity and individualism to her, though her classmates see it as emblematic of Ling's "privilege." Ling survives on wit, hope and courage until the death of Chairman Mao, after which she and her mother have a joyful reunion with Ling's father. Readers should remain rapt by Compestine's storytelling throughout this gripping account of life during China's Cultural Revolution. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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