Ji-Li has written a compelling memoir which reveals her gradual disillusionment with what she had been taught to believe about the Chinese communist government. A highly successful student, Ji-Li's life begins to unravel during the Cultural Revolution when her family wants her to turn down a chance to be trained by the government as a gymnast. Self-centered at first, the effects that propaganda have upon the lives of people she respects - including her own family - expand her concerns beyond her own.
I read this book quite a few books back. What I remember was that it was very compelling. The author tells about being forced to serve the "People" and the hardships, very much like the worst of a third world nation that her and her group experienced. While she grew up fast as a result of her experiences there this one particular scene that stands out; when two people were discovered as lovers and the horrible consequences that resulted. The author eagerly participated in their punishment, only to suffer deep regret later.
I found the narrative honest, in no sense was did it come across as exaggerated.
Great book for anyone at any age.
Risking that I will make it sound 'cliche' I would like to say that this madness is part of many a fanatic power-hungry oppressive regime. Honestly to a point I could swear I hear my grandma telling us about the communist takeover after the WW2 in the Czech republic then Czechoslovakia. My husband an Iraqi Kurd told me similar stories of enforced worship of Saddam, only his was actually more brutal story with the government sending poisoned exotic fruit like oranges, to eliminate part of the population, not to mention the horrific stories his friends told of Halabja the city attacked by chemical weapons... So I can relate to this one and I must say the writing and the settings described are very realistic. A worthy read for anyone who wants to understand just how bad things can get when monsters are allowed to run unchecked...
This wonderful little book allows you to feel the injustices of the Cultural Revolution but also begin to realize why the people allowed it to happen.
Great book for young adults. Takes you outside of your daily life to experience a TRUE story of a girl growing up in the middle of major cultural change.
An enjoyable, easy to read, and at times frightening memoir.
Red Scarf Girl is a disturbing account of one girl and her family's experiences during the Cultural Revolution of China during the sixties. It's amazing how we look at our world. I remember watching documentaries of the hippies, anti-war demonstrations, psychedelic drugs and free love that seemed to personify American and European culture during the 1960's. It's strange to think that at the same time on the other side of the world, another group of people were experiencing a very different reality and culture.
Red Scarf Girl is the real-life account of Ji Li Jiang. Ji Li was a smart, motivated, academic achiever who totally embraced the cultural revolution. . She proudly wore her red scarf and carried around her little red book of Mao Ze-Dong's sayings to show her support of the revolution. Like others her age, she believed that China was in a new age. Anything old or traditional had to be erased or destroyed. This meant that many families had to be deposed of. Black family was the name given to any family that belonged to the old order of things: landowners, anyone with money or had servants. In order to rid the New China of these backward old ways, these wealthy, educated families were turned out of their homes and sent to re education camps or labor farms. The people or mobs that turned them out then looted their houses. These mobs were primarily comprised of young people who worshiped Mao Ze-Dong. They believed that they were serving China by ridding her of these bad remnants of the past.
Jiang goes on to relate her growing horror of the movement that takes away any value of life or respect even for one's own family members. Eventually this revolution comes to her own doorstep where her dad is taken away to be "re educated".
This is an invaluable book to read to study the "group think" or "brain washing" as Ji Li calls it, that can go on when people replace worshipping God with worshipping the state.
Gives the reader an excellent overview of what it was like to live through China's Cultural Revolution as well as the opportunity to ponder what we have to look forward to if we are not vigilant in our own country.