Red Scarf Girl: a Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang

Red Scarf GirlJiang Ji-li as she is introduced in the book is in sixth grade when the cultural revolution in China begins to impact her family. She accepts the revolution and the teachings of Chairman Mao. She is a revolutionist. She wears her red scarf proudly and voices the communist philosophy.

One day at school she is chosen to audition for a dance training class. Ji-li is very confident. She has always been an excellent student. She feels that she has a very good chance of being accepted into the troop. However, when she goes home her father is very negative. He tells her that her family’s class status is bad because his grandfather was a landlord. He says that she will never be accepted into the Liberation Army Performing Troup.

As her life unfolds, her family’s class status begins to impact everything. She had been a class leader and a good student but is now a target of classmates comments and attacks. Her home is searched and her family is under suspicion. She tries to overcome her class status and succeed but she keeps meeting all sorts of obstacles.

I liked this book very much. I really empathized with Ji-li. I felt terrible for her and her family. I kept wanting to yell at her to wake up to the fact that the Communist party was unfair and flawed. The book gives you a sense of living under that kind of government. I also liked that it was a true story and that Ji-li tells you in the afterward what happened to her and to her family. This is a very interesting bit of history told from a personal perspective and the story will make you appreciate the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.

Posted by: Fran W.

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