Parents' Guide to

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Gripping story, great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Graphic suicide scenes make it inappropriate for the recommended age group

This book was assigned to my 6th grader. I'm disappointed that a book with such a graphic discussion of suicide would be recommended for this age group. Many of the kids, who are all advanced readers, were disturbed by the book. I understand the historical significance, but the subject matter is too much for 10-13 year olds. I would recommend that parents read this one before handing it over to their tween or teen.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

As a storybook heroine, Ling is very relatable; her determined defiance of the bullies and Red Guards is admirable, exciting, and satisfying. The events of the book, carefully described so as not to be too overwhelming to the younger reader, often seem like escapades or adventures. Her growth in maturity and inner strength makes this as much a coming-of-age novel as an historical one. All of these features make it an excellent introduction for upper elementary and middle school readers to this frightening period in Chinese history.

To a Western child growing up in comfort and privilege, stories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution can be hard to understand as history. It can seem more like a tale of an insane asylum where the inmates have taken over, and the lack of sense and logic can be almost as frightening as the violence. Compestine's decision to fictionalize her memoir was a good one; it makes the history far more approachable than, say, a book such as Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang, which is more realistic but, by the same token, harder to relate to. REVOLUTION IS NOT A DINNER PARTY won many awards, including the California Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, made the 2007 Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Fiction list, and was named one of the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults in 2008, and was nominated for the California Young Readers Medal in 2012.

Book Details

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