What’s it all about?:
The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love. Jung Chang describes the life of her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving — and ultimately uplifting — detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.
What did I think?:
Okay, first things first. This is only my second review for my blog and both books have received the full five star rating. However, just to clear things up, I don’t give out five stars willy-nilly, this book thoroughly deserves it. It is a beautiful, engrossing, and more than a little harrowing tale of three generations of women circa the Mao era.
I first read this book when I was about fourteen, and the impact it had on me was immense. Reading it now, I feel I can appreciate and understand it better (no offence fourteen year old self!). Some of the things that these women had to go through – from the traditional foot binding to disturbing violence and treachery under Chairman Mao was difficult to read and at times I’m not ashamed to admit that I fought back tears. I think Jung Chang is an amazing writer who had me completely under her spell, and I am looking forward to reading her book “Mao: The Unknown Story.”
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5)