Chinese Girl in the Ghetto [NOOK Book]

Overview

As China opens itself to the world and undertakes historic economic reforms, a little girl in the southern city of Guangzhou immerses herself in a world of fantasy and foreign influences while grappling with the mundane vagaries of Communist rule. She happily immigrates to Oakland, California, expecting her new life to be far better in all ways than life in China. Instead, she discovers crumbling schools, unsafe streets, and racist people. In the land of the free, she comes of age amid the dysfunction of a city’s...
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Chinese Girl in the Ghetto

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Overview

As China opens itself to the world and undertakes historic economic reforms, a little girl in the southern city of Guangzhou immerses herself in a world of fantasy and foreign influences while grappling with the mundane vagaries of Communist rule. She happily immigrates to Oakland, California, expecting her new life to be far better in all ways than life in China. Instead, she discovers crumbling schools, unsafe streets, and racist people. In the land of the free, she comes of age amid the dysfunction of a city’s brokenness and learns to hate in the shadows of urban decay. This is the incredible story of her journey from China to an American ghetto and how she prevailed.
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Editorial Reviews

National Review Online - John Derbyshire
"Told with...simplicity and frankness"--National Review Online
Washington Examiner - Mona Charen
"Fascinating memoir....[Ying Ma's] journey has made her the very best kind of conservative -- one whose love of liberty, order and self-reliance has been forged through gritty experience."--Creators Syndicate
Back Cover - Ward Connerly
“Direct and unvarnished, this book describes the endless possibilities of a free society that allows its citizens to chart their own destiny. Ying Ma takes her readers to dark corners where poverty, crime, and racism reign, all the while reminding us that even amid a sea of hate, individuals can choose to believe in kindness, decency, personal responsibility, and racial equality.”
Back Cover - Qiang Xiao
“A beautiful account of a young girl’s encounter with the insidiousness of authoritarianism in China and the tragedies of inner-city America. Ying Ma boldly details some of the worst imperfections of American society, all the while showing, with her own example, why freedom is worth choosing.”
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013202191
  • Publisher: Ying Ma
  • Publication date: 3/18/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 17,485
  • File size: 457 KB

Meet the Author

Ying Ma writes regularly about China, international affairs and the free market. Much of her research explores the nexus between political and economic freedom with respect to China’s rising influence on the global stage, and her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal Asia, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, National Review Online, the Weekly Standard and other publications. She completed Chinese Girl in the Ghetto as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Very interesting on several levels

    Ying Ma's childhood in Red China was not that different from my own in Atlanta, GA in the 1960s. Adults were adults and children were required to behave, yet given a fair amount of freedom. When she emigrates to a ghetto in Oakland, her childhood shifts radically from my own. Children are not disciplined, adults are feeble, and the environment is dangerous. Yet, better to be in a slum in the USA with the liberty to raise yourself up than be controlled and limited by a Communist government. The book is short, and I could hardly put it down. She paints a vivid picture of both experiences.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Chinese Girl in the Ghetto shattered my preconceptions about life in inner city America. In trying to make sense of the senseless violence she witnessed in Oakland, as well as the challenges her family underwent while living under an autocratic regime, Ying Ma tells a tale that is much more than a memoir. On its surface, the book offers a poignant story about one family's cross-cultural experience. But at a deeper level, it is a fascinating anecdotal account of the the unintended results of government planning in two very different societies. Sometimes funny, often tragic, but always brutally honest, Chinese Girl in the Ghetto is a gripping read that challenges us to question what freedom really means.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Two for the price of one!

    In this informative and moving memoir / coming of age story, author Ying Ma tells two stories: (1) that of a young girl, headstrong and non-conformist growing up in an authoritarian Communist society in which individual identity is suppressed and independent thought is forbidden; and (2) the story of that same girl's arrival in the promised land of America, only to find a crime-ridden ghetto replete with social dysfunction and racism. Throughout both parts of the book, the author's intelligence and integrity shine through. She does not flinch from confronting painful and controversial issues (such as the PRC's "one child" policy, and the anti-Asian racism prevalent among inner city African-Americans) but does so with thoughtfulness and eloquence. Though she was deeply wounded by the racism of her schoolmates, the author rises above the temptation to respond with a counter-racism of her own, and her discussion of the kindness she encountered from an African-American teacher is among the book's most moving passages.

    I highly recommend this book for readers interested in modern China, or American urban affairs. I also recommend it to younger readers, who may find in Ying Ma a kindred spirit navigating the difficult shoals of adolescence and young adulthood.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    INTERESTING AND ILLUMINATING.

    "We did not use crayons because we didn't know that crayons existed."—page 17

    Guangzhou, historically known as Canton, is southern China's largest city. And yet, in the early 1980s, kindergarten children of that city "didn't know that crayons existed".

    I am flummoxed. Even the poorest children from the inner-city ghettos of Oakland, California, about which Ying Ma writes much, would have been familiar with and have extensively used crayons decades before the 1980s.

    The immigrant experience in America always seems to make for fascinating reading to me. In Ying Ma's poignant memoir, CHINESE GIRL IN THE GHETTO, we get illuminating glimpses, not only of that experience, in its harsh reality, but also of everyday life in post-Mao China—all through the clear eyes of a child.

    Recommendation: This book would be a great read for high schoolers. Reading this story put me in mind of Esmeralda Santiago's memoir, WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN (which I also highly recommend). From foreign language backgrounds, through the worst and poorest of America's ghettos, to incredible academic success. Some people just can't be defeated.

    "From Guangzhou to the ghetto, our journey had turned out to be long and arduous, dark and painful, but twenty years after our arrival in America, we were finally free."—page 101

    NOOKbook edition, 107 pages

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    Chinese Girl in the Ghetto is a beautifully written story about the author's childhood in China and her later immigration to Oakland. It is a simple account of the author's childhood experiences, but through these experiences, Ms. Ma inspires her readers to think more deeply about the meaning of freedom and the importance of personal choice against external political regimes and environment. Through her account, we learn that even as children are forced to write "confessions" about themselves and to rat each other out by the authoritarian regime in China, they learn to be loyal to and protect their friends and family. And that even in a communist regime, they learn to respect each other's properties (including snacks). Contrast that to her experience in the US, where we are all taught the importance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and yet we witness discrimination and tolerate it (or in some cases, refuse to even acknowledge its existence because it's politically incorrect) and children learn to steal and demand others' properties and are never corrected. Not to say that the book is as simple as just that. It is also a heartfelt account of a girl growing up under authoritarian rule and then in the inner-city, and how each affected her. It is also an insightful reflection of how Ms. Ma came to learn the values that are now important to her. All in all, highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Chinese Girl in the Ghetto is a pretty interesting book. Ying Ma

    Chinese Girl in the Ghetto is a pretty interesting book. Ying Ma immigrated to the United States pursuing the American Dream. What she found, to her horror, was a run down world filled with crime and racism. All in all it is a fairly eye opening look at the U.S. from an immigrant’s point of view. Four stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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