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Finally, Ange was forced to join many other young urban Chinese students in the countryside for re-education. While life in the village was challenging physically, Ange found emotional space to develop his own artistic talent.
Posted October 17, 2005
Experience the Chinese Cultural Revolution through a teen¿s eyes in Ange Zhang¿s straightforward and poignant autobiography. After his father, an intellectual seen as a counter-revolutionary, is publicly humiliated and later arrested, Zhang¿s shame grew, as an adolescent¿s could, towards his own family. In 1966, at the age of 13, he wants desperately to fit in, and not be labeled the ¿bad guy¿s son¿. In time, Zhang creates his own faction of the Red Guard, alienating himself further from his family until an experience unravels his fervent idealism. Gradually, he is re-awakened when he discovers his father¿s hidden books. Locked in bookcases sealed with paper strips bearing the Red Guard¿s seals, Zhang takes the hinges off the book case doors to keep the locks and seals intact. Day after day he stays inside his house reading banned books by Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, and Jack London. He realizes through reading that each of us is unique and needs to pursue our own destiny. By the end, his family is re-united and Zhang is able to pursue the life of an artist. Zhang¿s moving account is illustrated with lush digitally rendered pictures of everyday life during Mao¿s Cultural Revolution, and accompanied by reproductions of period posters, black and white photos and artifacts. His striking artwork is reminiscent of silk-screened posters, and you will be astonished by his lovely work. A fine appendix expands the historical context. Earning a *Starred Review* from Booklist, Zhang¿s stirring experience gently unpacks a hopeful message to resonate with all pre-teens: oppression cannot squelch individuality and the power of dreams. For ages 8 and older.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.