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.
"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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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 ...
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