A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Will make readers curious to know more about the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Parents and teachers may want to check out the author's website to help readers put the book in some context.
A poignant memoir of one person's experiences during China's Cultural Revolution. Themes of faith, strength and courage lighten up what can only be described as a difficult experience.
Positive Role Models
Ji-Li Jiang is a true hero who shows great courage. Readers will appreciate that she honestly relates her experiences as a child a complicated time, her growing conclusions about what was happening around her -- and the difficult choices she had to make.
Violence & Scariness
Ji-Li's grandmother is slapped in the face. Descriptions of beatings and suicides are included.
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Mild expletives are used several times.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this a memoir of a girl growing up during China's Cultural Revolution and includes details about beatings and suicides. Ji-Li Jiang paints a clear and devastating portrait of a brutal political movement that ruined many lives -- and had a deep impact on her family. The engaging story makes young readers want to know more about the subject. A helpful glossary translates foreign words and phrases used in the text.
Is It Any Good?
Torn by conflicting emotions, author Ji-Li Jiang is the perfect guide to the complexities of the Cultural Revolution, which many readers will encounter for the first time here. She struggles to be a good Communist almost to the end of the book, even trying at one point to change her name to avoid being identified with the landlord Jiangs. At the same time, Ji-Li is too intelligent to ignore the ironies and contradictions in her tormentors' dogma. Jiang's writing sometimes strains for effect, and the narrative ends abruptly, but the story is engaging. She is a true hero who honestly relates her experiences as a child in a complicated time, her growing conclusions about what was happening around her -- and the difficult choices she had to make.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.