Red Azalea: A Memoir

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Overview

This New York Times Notable Book tells the true story of what it was like growing up in Mao's China, where the soul was secondary to the state, beauty was mistrusted, and love could be punishable by death. Newsweek calls Anchee Min's prose "as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting."
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Red Azalea

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Overview

This New York Times Notable Book tells the true story of what it was like growing up in Mao's China, where the soul was secondary to the state, beauty was mistrusted, and love could be punishable by death. Newsweek calls Anchee Min's prose "as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425166871
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Anchee Min
Anchee Min
Born in Shanghai in 1957, Anchee Min came to American in 1984. While attending English as a Second Language classes, she worked as a waitress, a house cleaner, a fabric painter, and a model. In 1990 she received a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. Min wrote Red Azalea in English over an eight-year period. It won the Carl Sandburg LIterary Award in 1993 and was a New York Times Notable Book.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2012

    Living in Mao’s time In novel, Red Azalea, Anchee Min exp

    Living in Mao’s time
    In novel, Red Azalea, Anchee Min explains the experiences she went through growing up when China was under rule of Mao. She writes how her family was forced out of their home to live, in a very small house with other families. She made evident that she had to group up fast because her parents were gone for most of the day and she had to take care of two younger sisters and brother. She did very well in school and in her time at school, her teacher was accused of being an American spy. Min was told to humiliate her teacher in front of a crowd because what people thought of her and how she should be treated. Through her writing, I could feel Anchee’s emotions of love for her teacher and what others were telling her to do. I liked how you could feel the pull and confusion she was going through because it became retable to the audience on hard decisions they have to make and having to deal with the consequences. She was sent off to work on a farm called “Red Fire Farm” which she had say goodbye to her family and her home for a very long time. She writes a great description of what type of labor she went through and strictness of the farm. She ends up falling in love with Yan, one the leaders of the farm and has to deal with hiding up the love she feels. She is picked for consideration in being in a political opera which she finds herself trying to compete for the role as the Red Azalea. I liked this book because she is very open and honest on her past and she went through, which became appealing because she wants others to know her story. I think others would like this story, because it is very interesting and her most vulnerable emotions are shared which comes off very human like. Also I liked reading about this subject because I had only read about this time in history in class but to read a life story about this period of time was intriguing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good read

    I couldn't put the book down, I thought "whatever next ?". The book details the first hand experience of a woman born & living in China during the Cultural Revolution and how she survived it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2011

    Very Interesting

    Anchee Min writes in a no frills, but absorbing style that brings the reader into her experiences. The story is a glimpse into a life few non-Chinese could imagine on their own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Interacting Room

    CompassGirl

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Intriguing

    Min sets up her story quite nicely, her book just starts right into it. I was at first not expecting to like it (since I had to read it for class, and I've never liked memoirs), but by pretty much 2 chapters in and I was hooked. Her continuation (The Cooked Seed) is out, for those who think the ending isn't gratifying.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Red Azalea

    Unbelievable. I only kept rrading because it HAD to come together and not be the colossal waste of tme it seemed to be. No such luck.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An O.K read.

    I like the book but thought that at times it was a bit wordy. Despite this I would read her other books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    Great Book

    Great book with insight into the cultural revolution and the hardships of living in China during that time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2004

    Beautiful Chinese Memoir

    Anchee Min¿s book, Red Azalea, is an astonishing account of how her life was as a young girl growing up in Communist China. She was raised on the teachings of Mao and Comrade Jiang Ching. At seventeen, Anchee was transferred from her home to Red Fire Farm where she would stay and work as a rice/cotton picker for many years. While on Red Fire Farm, she met a woman, Yan Sheng, who became her best friend, teacher, lover, and soul reason to survive. After two years of working on the farm, Anchee tried out for a role in Comrade Jiang Ching¿s new movie, the Red Azalea, and was swept back to her hometown Shanghai as one of two finalists. After a few failed attempts at messing Anchee up, her rival, Cheering Spear, finally passed her up and got the lead role. Min faced a great many more trials and tribulations while working at the studio as a janitor and servant. The thought I liked most about this book was Anchee¿s determination in not letting the odds get the best of her. While she played mother to her 3 siblings and to her own mother and father, she never let fatigue and frustration overwhelm her and took care of her family in the best ways possible. Most children who got picked as workers instantly gave their lives up to disaster and misfortune, but Min looked at it as a way of helping Mao. Yan gave Anchee the desire to want to do her best and to always overachieve. At the studio, her cigarettes and the warm voice of an unknown man, who was also a janitor, willed Anchee Min to keep going. The factor that I disliked in Red Azalea was the fact that everywhere she went, someone was always there to give Anchee trouble and make life harder than it already was. Anchee missed out on all of life¿s many adventures while being held prisoner under Communist rule. In her family¿s neighborhood, she and her siblings were unaccepted by other children and had to play by themselves with whatever they could find. Comrade Lu at Red Fire Farm lived her life making sure that Yan and Anchee¿s lives were more miserable than her own. Lastly, at the studio Anchee was constantly berated by Cheering Spear and her advisor Soviet Wong. Anchee Min did the world a favor by writing this book because it allows us a little insight as to what goes on in China and the hardships that people still face today.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2002

    Couldn't put it down

    I could not put this book down. It's so simply written, yet so interesting and absorbing. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted November 10, 2013

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    Posted June 3, 2013

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted March 11, 2011

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    Posted April 19, 2009

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    Posted January 21, 2012

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    Posted April 29, 2011

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    Posted October 31, 2008

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    Posted February 20, 2011

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