The Cooked Seed: Book summary and reviews of The Cooked Seed by Anchee Min

The Cooked Seed

A Memoir

By Anchee Min

The Cooked Seed

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Book Summary

In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us the next chapter, an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path.

It is a hard and lonely road. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces.But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country. Min's eventual successes-her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves-are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In her excoriating examination of the legacy of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, novelist Min offers a sharp, moving contrast between American and Chinese attitudes about human worth and dignity." - Publishers Weekly

"A truly rags-to-riches story from Shanghai to Chicago ... An uplifting work of incredible grit and fortitude. " - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Anchee Min Author Biography

Photo: Naishi Min

Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957 during the rule of communist leader Mao Zedong. She was chosen to become a leader of the Little Red Guards, a group of elementary school children who supported and believed in Mao's ideas. Like every child of her generation, Min was taught to write "Long Live Chairman Mao!" before she was taught to write her own name. She believed in Mao and Communism. At the age of 17, she was sent to a labor camp near East China Sea, where she discovered the truth of Mao's calling. She endured mental and physical hardships, which included a severe spinal cord injury.

She worked for three years before talent scouts spotted her toiling in a cotton field. Madame Mao, preparing to take over China, was looking for a leading actress for a ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Anchee Min's Website

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