counter create hit Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution

Availability: Ready to download

In 1966 Ji–li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China's Communist Party. But that year China's leader, Mao Ze–dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji–li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbo In 1966 Ji–li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China's Communist Party. But that year China's leader, Mao Ze–dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji–li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbors, and co–workers. They lived in constant terror of arrest. Finally, with the detention of her father, Ji–li faced the most difficult choice of her life. Told with simplicity and grace, this is the true story of one family's courage and determination during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century. Ages 11+


Compare

In 1966 Ji–li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China's Communist Party. But that year China's leader, Mao Ze–dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji–li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbo In 1966 Ji–li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China's Communist Party. But that year China's leader, Mao Ze–dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji–li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbors, and co–workers. They lived in constant terror of arrest. Finally, with the detention of her father, Ji–li faced the most difficult choice of her life. Told with simplicity and grace, this is the true story of one family's courage and determination during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century. Ages 11+

30 review for Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Terror seen through the eyes of a twelve year-old girl, this is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution as much as a truly harrowing horror story where relatives & friends betray each other for no reason. The zombification of the Chinese under Mao's rule is distinctively awful, a mindset and time that must never be repeated (but under Trump's potential presidency, possibly might*). *Oracle time!-- wow do I feel dumb now. Terror seen through the eyes of a twelve year-old girl, this is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution as much as a truly harrowing horror story where relatives & friends betray each other for no reason. The zombification of the Chinese under Mao's rule is distinctively awful, a mindset and time that must never be repeated (but under Trump's potential presidency, possibly might*). *Oracle time!-- wow do I feel dumb now.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest If you follow me on Goodreads, you've probably noticed me reading an influx of older books lately. That's because I recently found a whole bunch of my old books in my garage and I'm rereading all of them to see which ones I want to keep and which ones should go. You can track this project by checking out this shelf I made, where I'm chronicling my experiences. RED SCARF GIRL is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution in China. In it, Ji-Li is Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest If you follow me on Goodreads, you've probably noticed me reading an influx of older books lately. That's because I recently found a whole bunch of my old books in my garage and I'm rereading all of them to see which ones I want to keep and which ones should go. You can track this project by checking out this shelf I made, where I'm chronicling my experiences. RED SCARF GIRL is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution in China. In it, Ji-Li is 13-14. She is descended from landlords, which makes her family a "black family," kind of similar to the low songbun of descendants of political traitors and undesirables in North Korea. Unlike North Korea, however, people in China had a chance at upwards mobility-- by betraying their friends and family and casting off their heritage and renouncing their former ways of life (specifically, the "four olds"). Through young Ji-Li's eyes, we see people getting tortured and interrogated by the Red Guards, antiques being confiscated and destroyed, and the intense period of upheaval where tradition is slowly but surely replaced by Mao's new doctrines. Ji-Li really captures the chaos, confusion, and uncertainty, and it's written in a way that really makes it sound like she is a teen. I actually think I enjoyed reading RED SCARF GIRL more this second time around because I didn't know as much about China when I read this for the first time. Since then, I've read a lot more about China and I've started learning Mandarin so the reading went much more smoothly for me this time, since I knew how to pronounce all the names and words now. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading memoirs, especially historical memoirs or memoirs that detail a highly specific and powerful experience. This is a very intimate account of the Cultural Revolution and it's worth a read. 4 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    A revealing tale of how people will gradually allow more and more of their freedoms to be taken away when they are pitted one against another. That was Mao's genius--keep the masses in constant revolt between classes. Mao was so revered that, as a youth, the author questioned her parents rather than the establishment. Her response to the difficult choice forced upon her (to choose her family or the party) is a powerful lesson. A well written book for her intended audience (youth). My daughter re A revealing tale of how people will gradually allow more and more of their freedoms to be taken away when they are pitted one against another. That was Mao's genius--keep the masses in constant revolt between classes. Mao was so revered that, as a youth, the author questioned her parents rather than the establishment. Her response to the difficult choice forced upon her (to choose her family or the party) is a powerful lesson. A well written book for her intended audience (youth). My daughter really connected with the author and could be heard roaming the house saying things like, "I'm so glad I live in America," and "I can keep a stamp collection without anyone trying to take it away from me." All along our journey through this book, I kept pointing out to my children the subtle things that were alienating neighbors and family from each other and how it resulted in less freedom. All youth should learn how to recognize these techniques to keep our freedoms strong.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    What to say about this...sometimes I have to resist the urge to review every book that I read. Then I think about the fact that I didn't review it, and I think, "Oh, just review it. Say something. Say anything." Not that people are just waiting to read what I and everyone else thought of it, but I feel that I should at least say something about it. After all, people do search for books to read and all the reviews pop up underneath them, so if they are interested enough to click on this book, the What to say about this...sometimes I have to resist the urge to review every book that I read. Then I think about the fact that I didn't review it, and I think, "Oh, just review it. Say something. Say anything." Not that people are just waiting to read what I and everyone else thought of it, but I feel that I should at least say something about it. After all, people do search for books to read and all the reviews pop up underneath them, so if they are interested enough to click on this book, they are likely interested enough to read what people said about it. The reason that I picked up this book in the first place was because I wanted to read more about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and it was suggested to me by a friend of a friend. She knew I was looking for more general information rather than one person’s account, but she suggested it because there is not much literature out there about that period of China’s history. Here are some random thoughts: The book was very YA, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. The intensity with which the people in Shanghai, where Jiang lived, jumped on the bandwagon of abolishing the “Four Olds” was terrifying. With a few well-turned phrases, it was very easy for people to argue that something was “Four Olds”. As a consequence, almost anything could, and was, considered as such. In particular, the kids Jiang’s age were frenzied in their judgments both in school and around town. In school, families such as Jiang’s that were unlucky enough to be considered “black” rather than “red” had it the worst. They were ridiculed, they got into fights, and their belongings were taken by other children. They were denied many opportunities, which included admission to schools they might have otherwise attended. At home, the Red Guard came in and destroyed where they lived while looking for items that were considered “Four Olds”. Before they arrived, Jiang’s family burned photos and clothing, repainted furniture, but still the Red Guard 'found' and confiscated many of their belongings. All in all, I enjoyed reading about Ji-Li Jiang’s transformation from a young woman blindly following Chairman Mao’s edicts, to first questioning the Revolution when her family was affected, and ultimately opposing it and leaving China to move to the United States. But… Yes, the havoc that the Chinese Cultural Revolution wrought on families was frightening. Yes, it was terrible what happened to Jiang and her family, but I wonder what kind of person she would have become had she been part of one of the lucky “red” families. I wonder if there would have been a memoir at all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    Many Americans, myself included, have an opinion about China, Communism, or most likely both. What most of us have neglected to do is explore how valid our opinions are. Ji-Li Jiang's memoir was written for children, and because she is a teacher her book is very accessible for most elementary school-age kids. It's no less interesting or valuable for adults, though, simply because we are not her intended audience. Red Scarf Girl brings us with Ji-Li as she grows up in the height of China's cultur Many Americans, myself included, have an opinion about China, Communism, or most likely both. What most of us have neglected to do is explore how valid our opinions are. Ji-Li Jiang's memoir was written for children, and because she is a teacher her book is very accessible for most elementary school-age kids. It's no less interesting or valuable for adults, though, simply because we are not her intended audience. Red Scarf Girl brings us with Ji-Li as she grows up in the height of China's cultural revolution, not long after the beginning of Communism in that country. It's an unclouded, child's-eye view of both what it's like to grow up in these conditions, as well as how political atrocities can take root in a community of normal, well-intentioned citizens. It also has strong themes of the importance of family, and of understanding your beliefs and the costs of holding them. This book was touching, frightening, hopeful, and infuriating by turns, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, especially in light of the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie Gallagher

    Check out my reviews on my blog! “Life is stranger than fiction.” Reading this unassuming-looking middle-grade book from 1999 really displays the truth of that statement. The Hunger Games, Divergent–none of these modern popular dystopian works come even close to the impact of Ji-li Jiang’s Red Scarf Girl. As Ji-li takes us through her life during the start of China’s Cultural Revolution, the fabric of Chinese society crumbles day by day. Heartbreak and destruction are constant, as homes are ransa Check out my reviews on my blog! “Life is stranger than fiction.” Reading this unassuming-looking middle-grade book from 1999 really displays the truth of that statement. The Hunger Games, Divergent–none of these modern popular dystopian works come even close to the impact of Ji-li Jiang’s Red Scarf Girl. As Ji-li takes us through her life during the start of China’s Cultural Revolution, the fabric of Chinese society crumbles day by day. Heartbreak and destruction are constant, as homes are ransacked, the elderly are beaten in the streets, and children are coerced into denouncing their parents, all in the name of a poisonous left-wing ideology. The parallels to the political issues the modern world faces are undeniable and scary. The struggle sessions, where the ideologically possessed pile insults and accusations on supposed counterrevolutionaries, are just a few ticks up from a Twitter mob. Readers watch on as poor Ji-li struggles to come to terms with her grandfather’s class status as a landlord, whom she never even met. Yet his status has left a black mark on her family background, meaning that Ji-li has unrenounceable privilege which haunts her at every turn. Does any of this sound eerily familiar? This is not a book with lush descriptions; it reads as a bit older, though not dated, and the verbiage is very straightforward. Though the language used is pretty plain, I remember reading this book as a kid and not really getting it. Why was Ji-li being pressured to write ugly lies about her teachers and post them around the school? Why were the grown-ups always holding whispered meetings in the bathroom? If you read this book when you were younger, please give it another go, since I suspect hefty chunks of it will fly over the heads of the target audience. Read as an adult, the message of Ji-li’s memoir is impossible to miss: this is what happens when a government endorses equity and social justice, then elects extreme measures to achieve those impossible goals.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    I've only read a few books that center on the Cultural Revolution in China. This one is different in that it's a memoir and focusses very specifically on 2 years of young girl's life when she's 12-14 years old; very impressionable and insecure years for many girls, under normal situations. Mao's Cultural Revolution was mayhem, from what I've gathered from the few books I've read. People denouncing neighbours, people being wary & afraid of speaking out, people being pronounced "black" (not with t I've only read a few books that center on the Cultural Revolution in China. This one is different in that it's a memoir and focusses very specifically on 2 years of young girl's life when she's 12-14 years old; very impressionable and insecure years for many girls, under normal situations. Mao's Cultural Revolution was mayhem, from what I've gathered from the few books I've read. People denouncing neighbours, people being wary & afraid of speaking out, people being pronounced "black" (not with the "red" regime) for having family heirlooms or pictures showing past wealth or comforts. It was an awful time of uncertainty and fear to have to live through. One thing this book shows is how a person who truly believed the goodness and leadership of Mao, was enthusiastic in all of Mao's initiatives and who tried so hard to be a good Red, slowly turned her way of thinking around because of how the Reds treated her and her family & friends. Fanaticism doesn't draw people into the fold but turns them away. This is an interesting look at one families trials through a difficult time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Duffy Pratt

    A young adult memoir about growing up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In many ways, her background was similar to my wife's, so from this standpoint it was quite interesting. One step at a time, opportunities, luxuries, friendships, and even family relationships are stripped from her. It's done in the name of advancing the revolutionary spirit. While this is happening, she sometimes questions the authority and motives of the people implementing the policies. But she never thinks to q A young adult memoir about growing up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In many ways, her background was similar to my wife's, so from this standpoint it was quite interesting. One step at a time, opportunities, luxuries, friendships, and even family relationships are stripped from her. It's done in the name of advancing the revolutionary spirit. While this is happening, she sometimes questions the authority and motives of the people implementing the policies. But she never thinks to question the policies themselves, or their source in Mao. The great irony in the policies is that the idea is to eliminate the "four olds." These are old, pre-revolutionary ways of thinking and behaving. But the biggest sign of guilt for the Red Guard is that someone's ancestor was a landlord. That's the black sin that taints the narrator's family. And what is more a sign of old thinking than the idea that a person is defined by his/her ancestry? The writing is a bit overly simple, as the book seems deliberately aimed at a YA audience. This is too bad. I don't mind the simplicity, but I don't like it when I get the impression that things have been deliberately been dumbed down. It takes a special writer to put together a children's book that appeals to adults, and this one doesn't quite hit the mark. Having said that, it was an interesting book to read, and I'm by no means sorry that I did.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    This book is powerful for me because it happened to a girl my age who was born in China. I wonder if I could have been as strong as she was. Chairman Mao had them all fooled, and I wonder when (not if) it will happen again. I read "The Children's Story, " by James Michner to my class to start this book. It seems real to me and them. Who now would give up his or her summer to work for the country? Who would stay up all day and night to work on a project for shcool? Who would walk right by his gra This book is powerful for me because it happened to a girl my age who was born in China. I wonder if I could have been as strong as she was. Chairman Mao had them all fooled, and I wonder when (not if) it will happen again. I read "The Children's Story, " by James Michner to my class to start this book. It seems real to me and them. Who now would give up his or her summer to work for the country? Who would stay up all day and night to work on a project for shcool? Who would walk right by his grandmother on the sidwalk when she needed help? This powerful story shows us life in China during the Cultural Revolution. My book group read this and of course I reread this book every year with my 7th grade students, so I've read it multiple times. My neighbor entered a history fair competition and won 5th in the nation. She presented her project at our book group. We had a great discussion and listened to the interview that she had with the author. Ji Li is down to earth and normal. She has fullfilled her goal in my mind. She has raised awareness and helped people here know about what happened in China. If you don't know about the Cultural Revolution or Chairman Mao, read this book. It's very worth your time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    bjneary

    Ji-li Jiang writes of a terrible time the history of China and in her life. Everyone was so enamored and "brainwashed" by Mao's greatness that the Chinese began to change the way they thought, dressed, acted and were educated----and if they didn't, they were seen as Four Olds to be humiliated in front of family and friends by teen guards that had become revolutionized to do Mao's good work. Her family went from a success story to being blamed for a grandfather being a landlord which was consider Ji-li Jiang writes of a terrible time the history of China and in her life. Everyone was so enamored and "brainwashed" by Mao's greatness that the Chinese began to change the way they thought, dressed, acted and were educated----and if they didn't, they were seen as Four Olds to be humiliated in front of family and friends by teen guards that had become revolutionized to do Mao's good work. Her family went from a success story to being blamed for a grandfather being a landlord which was considered the worst, their furniture was taken, their clothes, their father and they were questioned as enemies. As soon as I finished I wanted to learn all I could about what would make a country change so much for Mao. It was a sobering and scary story by a wonderful, bright, intelligent teen who chose to stand by her family and not renounce them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a really sad book for me, the author who is just a few years older then me, had to go through this while I grew up obliviously on the other side of the world watching Star Trek on TV and going to summer camp. The 13 year old girl was sent to a farm commune and worked close to death. (view spoiler)[ The best part is the uplifting ending and the author's determination to try to improve things for the country she still loves. (hide spoiler)] This was a really sad book for me, the author who is just a few years older then me, had to go through this while I grew up obliviously on the other side of the world watching Star Trek on TV and going to summer camp. The 13 year old girl was sent to a farm commune and worked close to death. (view spoiler)[ The best part is the uplifting ending and the author's determination to try to improve things for the country she still loves. (hide spoiler)]

  12. 5 out of 5

    J

    Very informational. I have such a love and fascination for Chinese history, that I really enjoyed it. I kept thinking, wow, we are so close to this in the US! I hope I've prepared my children to stand up for their heritage! Very informational. I have such a love and fascination for Chinese history, that I really enjoyed it. I kept thinking, wow, we are so close to this in the US! I hope I've prepared my children to stand up for their heritage!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer X

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Cultural Revolution brings countless life-changing events into Jiang Ji-li's life, altering her knowledge about the things around her. However, despite that, the young girl still stays loyal to the government, doing what she hopes is the right thing. But as time goes on, the development of the Revolution takes a drastic turn. Soon the horrors land in Ji-li's own neighborhood, and later, her own family. No longer a bystander viewing from the sidelines, Ji-li is faced with tough decisions alon The Cultural Revolution brings countless life-changing events into Jiang Ji-li's life, altering her knowledge about the things around her. However, despite that, the young girl still stays loyal to the government, doing what she hopes is the right thing. But as time goes on, the development of the Revolution takes a drastic turn. Soon the horrors land in Ji-li's own neighborhood, and later, her own family. No longer a bystander viewing from the sidelines, Ji-li is faced with tough decisions along with cruel accusations and shaming from her former friends. Jiang Ji-li grows up with every obstacle faced, and there is a drastic difference in her personality throughout the book. She learns and strengthens through troubles, and by the end of the book, she is no longer that little girl who cries in tough situations, instead, she is more responsible than ever before. Even though she is far from perfect, she truly matures during the story. Ji-li chooses to follow her heart during the almost impossible decision between family and government, choosing to stay with her loved ones. This book explores the Cultural Revolution through the eyes of a young girl, I would recommend it to anyone interested in China's history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    MissDziura

    I gave Ji-li Jiang's memoir of her life, Red-Scarf Girl:A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution four stars (really liked it) because of the way her story was told. This book is intended for readers in grades 5-9, which is quite a span, but I would say it is most approriate for grades 7-9. Jiang lets readers in on her life, and allows them to experience how she changes from a girl that was proud to be a product of her country to a young woman who comes to question everything she believes. I found it I gave Ji-li Jiang's memoir of her life, Red-Scarf Girl:A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution four stars (really liked it) because of the way her story was told. This book is intended for readers in grades 5-9, which is quite a span, but I would say it is most approriate for grades 7-9. Jiang lets readers in on her life, and allows them to experience how she changes from a girl that was proud to be a product of her country to a young woman who comes to question everything she believes. I found it very powerful in its tone because it changed so drastically but subtly too. The story begins when she is twelve years old and full of hope in Chairman Mao and her home, China. As the memoir continues, readers go through the numerous pitfalls with Jiang as she goes from a star student and leader to an ostracized and scared little girl (even though she is growing up). I found her story to be tremendously sad, and I do not believe students younger than 7th grade would be able to grasp the emotional rollercoaster Jiang goes through as a result of the life-experiences she faces under Mao's regime. The Red Scarf Girl would be an excellent addition to a classroom library, especially for use in a literature circle unit focusing on memoirs that tell of hardship and eventual resolution.

  15. 4 out of 5

    LemonLinda

    In this memoir Ji-li Jiang tells the story of the beginning years of the Cultural Revolution in China when she was between the ages of 12 to 14. Her grandparents had been "landowners", thus they were labeled as such and did not merit a good class status. The hardships they endured, the manipulations that were used, and the ways in which people took advantage of others during this time is shockingly sad. How Mao manipulated the people of China during this time period is widely known and accepted In this memoir Ji-li Jiang tells the story of the beginning years of the Cultural Revolution in China when she was between the ages of 12 to 14. Her grandparents had been "landowners", thus they were labeled as such and did not merit a good class status. The hardships they endured, the manipulations that were used, and the ways in which people took advantage of others during this time is shockingly sad. How Mao manipulated the people of China during this time period is widely known and accepted as a sad chapter in China's history, but this book also focuses on the smaller ways that individuals used the political atmosphere to promote themselves and to abuse others. This quote was chilling to me given our current political climate. "It was only after Mao's death that I knew I was deceived. It was after Mao's death in 1976 that people woke up. We finally learned that the whole Cultural Revolution had been part of a power struggle at the highest levels of the party. Our leader had taken advantage of our trust and loyalty to manipulate the whole country. This is the most frightening lesson of the whole Cultural Revolution. Without a sound legal system a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country. This is as true now as it was then."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cherylann

    At times it was hard to remember that this book is a memoir and the horrific acts I was reading about not only really happened, but they happened to a young girl. While I've read better writing, the story was so powerful it was able to transcend my feelings about the prose. When I started the book, I knew nothing about the Cultural Revolution in China, so I had no idea what to expect. Having finished the book, I can make comparisons to the Cultural Revolution in Iran, as in Persepolis, and the H At times it was hard to remember that this book is a memoir and the horrific acts I was reading about not only really happened, but they happened to a young girl. While I've read better writing, the story was so powerful it was able to transcend my feelings about the prose. When I started the book, I knew nothing about the Cultural Revolution in China, so I had no idea what to expect. Having finished the book, I can make comparisons to the Cultural Revolution in Iran, as in Persepolis, and the Holocaust (and you can name any book about the Holocaust here). If I were to have the freedom to design a unit of study for my class, one in which I could choose any texts I wanted, I would love to use this book, Persepolis, and The Diary of Anne Frank to have students compare the experiences of the young women who lived through challenging times in history. I also think discussion of this book would teach critical literacy as well as help students understand the rhetoric that plagues us even today.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Allisonlcarter

    What I like about this book is that it keeps us very tightly confined to the story of pre-teen Ji-li. This does not try to explain the larger context of the Cultural Revolution; it does not try to make us understand what was happening in Beijing. And that makes her story all the more terrifying. Just as history is difficult to understand when we are caught in its tides, following Ji-li we only know that the world is changing in ways big and small, that the world is growing colder and more fright What I like about this book is that it keeps us very tightly confined to the story of pre-teen Ji-li. This does not try to explain the larger context of the Cultural Revolution; it does not try to make us understand what was happening in Beijing. And that makes her story all the more terrifying. Just as history is difficult to understand when we are caught in its tides, following Ji-li we only know that the world is changing in ways big and small, that the world is growing colder and more frightening. Truly, it's stranger than any dystopia.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hattie Foster

    This book stated to drag on. Not to mention that I found two grammatical errors and I was like 13.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Krutika Puranik

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. • r e v i e w • . "This is the most frightening lesson of the Cultural Revolution: Without a sound legal system, a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country. This is as true now as it was then." - Ji-li jiang. . Although this memoir was written by keeping young adults in mind, there's clearly no age limit to sit back and learn about the Cultural Revolution from the POV of a teenager. What's horrifying was the fact that countless Chinese were brainwashed to believe tha • r e v i e w • . "This is the most frightening lesson of the Cultural Revolution: Without a sound legal system, a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country. This is as true now as it was then." - Ji-li jiang. . Although this memoir was written by keeping young adults in mind, there's clearly no age limit to sit back and learn about the Cultural Revolution from the POV of a teenager. What's horrifying was the fact that countless Chinese were brainwashed to believe that Chairman Mao's revolution was for the betterment of their lives. Back in the 1960s when the Cultural Revolution was just in its initial stages, people spent their days in fervour, counting on Mao to bring in positive changes. But a few months into the revolution, they began to realise how they now had to live in fear of being reprimanded for no fault of theirs. Intellectuals were mocked regularly and were even stripped of their titles. Children were turned against their parents, old people were treated brutally and students were encouraged to bully even their elders. Such was the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and Ji-li gives a firsthand account of what it felt like to witness Mao's growth. . Like any other teenager, Ji-li was anticipating the onset of the Cultural Revolution which believed in eradicating the four olds - old ideas, culture, customs and habits. Old signboards hanging on the shops were broken, cinema theatres were renamed, family heirlooms were destroyed. Ji-li dreamt of becoming a Red Successor who was entitled to take part in the activities carried out as approved by Mao. But trouble crept in when she realised that her grandfather was a landlord and as announced by Mao, they were then categorised under 'Black Family'. Rumours arose that her father was a rightist and was then imprisoned. Ji-li who was a brilliant student at school and led many events, faced her fellow students'wrath for being a black family. Many families like hers were stripped off their wealth, forcing elders to sweep the streets all the while publicly shaming them. Ji-li quickly realises how wrong the revolution's ideology was. . Ji-li recalls how she was pushed to denounce her parents and to show her support to Chairman Mao. While many families worshipped Mao, the Jiang's and others alike were struggling to survive in a cruel world. Many teachers were abused mentally and physically as flyers about them were pasted all over the cities. They were criticized and vile things were spoken about them. Ji-li finds one in her name and is traumatized by the accusations. It was only after Mao's decline that the citizens began to understand how inhumane and unfair the revolution actually was. Now living in The States, Ji-li mentions how she can't leave behind China. The Red Scarf girl turned out to be an eye opener, explaining the negative angle of what was considered as one of the biggest movement. Reading about innocent civilians being castigated was extremely hurtful. If you'd want to learn about the Cultural Revolution in simpler terms, then this book will impress you. I definitely recommend this. . Rating : 4.4/5.

  20. 4 out of 5

    RyanW_E2

    I have so many questions and so many thoughts after reading such a grueling book, especially when you know that this is a true story written by the protagonist herself. I can't believe that my grandpa went through this too! If I was her, I would've given up already. This book is kind of like Salva's story, a civil war. Although the cultural revolution wasn't a war, it certainly seemed like one, because of all the gruesome things that happened to the prisoners in China. The title of this book, "R I have so many questions and so many thoughts after reading such a grueling book, especially when you know that this is a true story written by the protagonist herself. I can't believe that my grandpa went through this too! If I was her, I would've given up already. This book is kind of like Salva's story, a civil war. Although the cultural revolution wasn't a war, it certainly seemed like one, because of all the gruesome things that happened to the prisoners in China. The title of this book, "Red Scarf Girl", represents two things; first, "red" is the color of communism (the cultural revolution). Second, in China, the red scarf is worn by the students of local schools, which is telling us that the book is about how a "regular" girl is affected by the cultural revolution. This is one of the first real life memoirs that I have read, and now I definitely want to read another one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. This was read for my daughter’s Book Wizards group (composed of cognitively disabled adults) and I actually borrowed her Kindle Fire so I could experience Whispersync immersion reading, where you hear the audiobook narration and the ebook follows along. I found the process a bit slow, as I clearly read much faster than the narrator, but it was kind of relaxing and it did focus my mind on the book. I read much of it in the plane, and found listening thro Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. This was read for my daughter’s Book Wizards group (composed of cognitively disabled adults) and I actually borrowed her Kindle Fire so I could experience Whispersync immersion reading, where you hear the audiobook narration and the ebook follows along. I found the process a bit slow, as I clearly read much faster than the narrator, but it was kind of relaxing and it did focus my mind on the book. I read much of it in the plane, and found listening through my earbuds pleasantly distracting from the small children. Why do I always end up near small children on domestic flights? ’Tis a mystery. Anyway, the book. This is a memoir ostensibly written for a young audience, because it covers the writer’s life from the age of 12 to 14. And yet as an adult reader I found it sufficiently challenging, since it deals with the Mao years of Chinese history and there was a lot I don’t know. At the time of writing we’re in the 1960s, when the Cultural Revolution is well under way. Ji-Li has grown up in an environment where Chairman Mao is pretty much worshipped and to be a good revolutionary is the pinnacle of every child’s desire. She buys into everything she’s been taught completely and as a class valedictorian and athlete she envisions a glowing future for herself. The first sign of trouble comes when Ji-Li is invited to audition for a revolutionary performance troupe. Her parents inform her that she won’t succeed because of their class status. This was a notion with which I wasn’t familiar, but it pervades the book—Ji-Li’s grandfather was a landlord, one of the “black” or anti-revolutionary categories (Mao’s thinking put landlords and criminals in the same basket). As the Cultural Revolution progresses, Ji-Li and her family are increasingly victimized and stigmatized, stripped of their belongings and forced to serve their community in menial roles. Ji-Li comes under pressure (and you need to remember she’s still a child at that point) to dissociate herself from her family in order to become a true revolutionary. Narrator Christina Moore did a good job putting a voice to Ji-Li’s story, capturing both the revolutionary fervor of the young, Ji-Li’s devastation as her life changes, and her inner struggle to hold on to her sense of self and cope with the shame she feels. I think part of my feeling that the audio was slow was that Moore was narrating for a younger audience who need a little extra time to grasp the new concepts that the book brings to a Western audience. Even for adults, I’d recommend this memoir as a gateway to understanding the Cultural Revolution and seeing how the attempt to build a fairer society gets twisted into a dog-eat-dog power struggle once you apply dogma (pun not intended, but I’m quite pleased with it) to people’s lives. There’s a glossary at the end to help guide you through the more unfamiliar terms, and I enjoyed Jiang’s writing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I would give this book three and a half stars if Goodreads would allow it. I found this book to be very enlightening. I don't know very much about the so-called Cultural Revolution in China's not-so-distant past. Ji-Li Jiang gives the reader a heartrending insider view of the localized and very personal impact and hardship imposed on the people of China by the Great and Supreme Tyrant Mao Zedong and his collaborators. I cringed while reading the book to see how easily neighbors turned against ea I would give this book three and a half stars if Goodreads would allow it. I found this book to be very enlightening. I don't know very much about the so-called Cultural Revolution in China's not-so-distant past. Ji-Li Jiang gives the reader a heartrending insider view of the localized and very personal impact and hardship imposed on the people of China by the Great and Supreme Tyrant Mao Zedong and his collaborators. I cringed while reading the book to see how easily neighbors turned against each other based on meaningless labels and lost all sense of basic compassion for their fellow human beings. I read it and wondered how could the Chinese people have allowed this and was there a way for them to have avoided it? I ask the same question when reading about Nazi Germany or the current dictatorships in Myanmar and North Korea. The loss of all freedom is terrifying, but when your neighbors become the enforcing arm of a tyrannical government it becomes seemingly hopeless. We must be wary of polarization in our society and wary of developing factions that hate each other. We must not allow political party identification to define us and who we like or hate. And above all we must retain respect for rule of law, when those laws protect our freedoms. Books like this remind me how dear I hold the freedoms I have and I resent any encroachments on them. I resent any effort that smacks of cleansing the "other" view from society. This book, like other memoirs that record the rise and fall of dictatorships, is valuable cautionary reading for anyone who values freedom.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A great memoir from a child's p.o.v. on living through the cultural revolution. Everything I know about the Cultural Revolution I learned from books like this. My lame Seymour High School education never even touched on Mao Ze-Dong, China, Asia, or any other culure aside from our young American culture and a small portion of Europe's, and only then when it had anything to do with our own. I am completely self-taught on all (important) things historical that were not quickly and poorly glossed ov A great memoir from a child's p.o.v. on living through the cultural revolution. Everything I know about the Cultural Revolution I learned from books like this. My lame Seymour High School education never even touched on Mao Ze-Dong, China, Asia, or any other culure aside from our young American culture and a small portion of Europe's, and only then when it had anything to do with our own. I am completely self-taught on all (important) things historical that were not quickly and poorly glossed over in the lame, lame, lame school system where I spent way too many hours of my life being bored out of my mind by uninspired teachers and writing notes to my friend who was likewise intelligent and uninspired and BORED. My two children will definately not need to wait until they are young adults to learn about the world they live in, because I will expose them to books such as this, thank you Ji-li Jiang (all all the rest).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Echtenkamp

    The cover of this book did not draw me in, but it came with a great recommendation from a friend/our school librarian. I really enjoyed every page of it! I also learned so much about China under communist rule that I did not know anything about. It is a true story about the author's life in China from the ages of 12 to 14. I would highly recommend this book to any of my students. It was a quick, enjoyable, and informative read! The cover of this book did not draw me in, but it came with a great recommendation from a friend/our school librarian. I really enjoyed every page of it! I also learned so much about China under communist rule that I did not know anything about. It is a true story about the author's life in China from the ages of 12 to 14. I would highly recommend this book to any of my students. It was a quick, enjoyable, and informative read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Fabulous memoir of growing up during the Cultural Revolution in China. A young girl is faced with the dilemma of fitting in and being safe by siding with the Red Guard or staying true to herself and her family. The latter meant putting herself at great risk. Jiang Ji-li is truly an inspiration.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex W F1

    The Cultural Revolution was one of the darkest moments of China’s past: citizens were manipulated as part of a power struggle at the highest levels of the Communist Party. Red Scarf Girl provides an intimate account of life during this period of adversity. While reading this memoir, I felt immense sympathy for the author. Although one can perceive some of her actions as selfish or naive, she was completely unaware of the true purpose of the Revolution. If I were in her position, I would be in no The Cultural Revolution was one of the darkest moments of China’s past: citizens were manipulated as part of a power struggle at the highest levels of the Communist Party. Red Scarf Girl provides an intimate account of life during this period of adversity. While reading this memoir, I felt immense sympathy for the author. Although one can perceive some of her actions as selfish or naive, she was completely unaware of the true purpose of the Revolution. If I were in her position, I would be in no better shape. It was truly remarkable for Jiang Ji-li to find the courage and determination to persist through this terrible time, as well as sacrifice personal glory to continue following her "moral compass."

  27. 4 out of 5

    M.L. Little

    Communism has never worked. Our current system is not working, but communism is not the answer. We need a system where classes exist, but people have the ability to rise to whatever class they dream of. Everyone should read this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marie Lund Alveberg

    Provides a fascinating insight into life as it could be during Maos Cultural Revolution in China.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ebookwormy1

    Written for young people, this first person coming of age account of the cultural revolution might be better read by adults. Adults could more easily discern the subtle clues of how good became evil, how success became disaster, how the respect afforded elderly people became scorn, and the incredible destruction of lives and property. Mao is credited with something like 40-60 MILLION deaths, many of which occurred during this tumultuous time, and as the very personal story of one family in Shang Written for young people, this first person coming of age account of the cultural revolution might be better read by adults. Adults could more easily discern the subtle clues of how good became evil, how success became disaster, how the respect afforded elderly people became scorn, and the incredible destruction of lives and property. Mao is credited with something like 40-60 MILLION deaths, many of which occurred during this tumultuous time, and as the very personal story of one family in Shanghai, it makes for heavy material. The first person narrative does not illuminate any of these things for young readers, but rather seeks to simply recount the desperate situation in which the 12-14 year old authoress finds herself. Although this has tremendous historical value, the young woman is, quite bluntly, clueless as to what is going on around her. The adults, be they teachers or parents, do nothing to either help her navigate the storm or even understand what is going on. Perhaps in the hands of a good teacher, the text could be suitably illuminated. The simple approach does make a well written and informative book, but sensitive students, students without a good understanding of world history, students who lack discernment, student who lack aptitude in social/ political interpretation and students who generally lean toward the positives of the world are going to have trouble digesting this distressing material without assistance. I would recommend this for high school reading for the majority of students. As a side note, I was confused by the reference on page 155 to praying to Allah. It was unclear to me whether the family was Muslim (something that was not mentioned) or the writer had made an odd choice in translation. Allah appears several other times in the text with a couple references to "God" and the family's Muslim faith is clarified in the end notes. The other niggling thing for me was the ending in general. The text opens with an idyllic picture of her early childhood and quickly plummets into the Cultural Revolution. The conclusion resolves with the young woman's determined allegiance to her family two years into the Revolution after many personal, familial and communal trials. Yet the Cultural Revolution continued an ADDITIONAL 8 years and was only abandoned on the occasion of Mao's death. It remains a difficult topic in today's China where the Communist Party tries to connect itself with Mao's sovereignty while denying the catastrophic failure of his policies. How did they survive? What was her path to an education? Did the party accept the family? Was she a black whelp for the remainder of her time in China? The end notes tie some (but not all) these threads together in the big picture, but not with the detail of the account in the narrative, which to me was unsatisfying and abrupt. Meanwhile the end note in which she asserts that everyone was "brainwashed" and "deceived" by Mao rang hollow to me and came too late to provide context for young people. This is NOT the first or only or even last (God help us!) time such atrocities have happened. More often than not, they are centered around a totalitarian will to power. I think I would have preferred the end notes to be placed at the beginning of the book to help provide readers, particularly young adults, with the realization that mass deception is a central theme of the upcoming devastation. If it had been written toward adults, I think I would have given 4 stars, but as it is directed at kids, and needs to be handled with care, I am giving it 3. For a different true story view of a young woman coming of age during the Cultural Revolution, see Eighth Moon, Bao Lord, 1964 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... For other views of China, check out: The Good Earth, Buck, 1931 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Barbarians, Carter, 1998 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See, 2009 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I highly and unequivocally recommend the narrative non-fiction work: Shanghai Faithful, Lin, 2017 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... For fiction, the selection that resonated is Bette Bao Lord's The Middle Heart. Fantastic characterization and historical plotting from the Communist take over through Deng XiaoPing. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  30. 5 out of 5

    James Housworth

    Very subpar writing, but the story is so shocking and surreal that it makes up for the choppy sentences and stop-and-go plot. It’s one thing to learn about the Cultural Revolution in a big-picture type of way, but it’s another thing altogether to see firsthand how it brainwashed and then betrayed a little girl. And it’s banned in China, so you can feel extra cool while reading it :)

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.