Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was the third and final book I read for the Diverse-A-Thon and I'm glad I saved it for the end... because I ended up doing a lot of research.
Red Scarf Girl is a tale of terror as seen through the eyes of a 12 year old girl who is in the "black class" (as in not with the Red regime) of communist China. The whole book unsettled me which is good- that's what it's supposed to do. It was hard to stomach the fact that family turned against each other so quickly in a bid to not be labeled as 'anti-Revolutionary'.
This was a unique perspective. I've read books before where the author or the MC has disliked or was troubled by Mao from the beginning, but Ji-li Jiang had so much admiration and trust placed in Mao and it was a gift to be able to watch her go from 'I'd do anything for him and I'd do anything to be in the Red Class' to 'I'm choosing my family'. Because that's what it came down to for her and for many other people in China at the time. This was an era where having family heirlooms and pictures of your family could get you arrested. To choose family over the Red Party was almost unheard of.
If you've never read anything about the Cultural Revolution, I would recommend starting with this book.
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