It was hard, at times, to remember that this is a memoir. The world Min inhabited, though familiar from history, seems so astounding when examined on the individual level. The intensity of the obsession with Mao. The discrepancy between ideals and reality. More than a few times I found myself shaking my head. How did this happen? Min has interesting tone here, largely created by unadorned syntax. This is, simply, her story. Her life on a farm in her assigned role as a peasant. Her introduction to life in the movies. It’s just hard to imagine that this is such a recent story.
I admit that some of the sexuality got to me a bit – in that I don’t think I could use it in the classroom. But it’s a well-told slice of history, something to bring a textbook chapter to life.