Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Name is Number 4 by Ting-Xing Ye

My Name is Number 4.  A True Story from the Cultural Revolution by Ting-Xing Ye

Ah Si was the 4th born child in her working family of 5, which is why she is called Number 4.  Ah Si's father owned a rubber factory and the family lived happily in an apartment on Purple Sunshine Lane.  Things were comfortable until The Cultural Revolution began, when Ah Si's father was forced to surrender his factory to the Chinese Government and in return received a red flower that he could pin to his lapel. He was kept on as a Private Representative but was soon labeled a "Hard-Minded Capitalist". 

  After her parents die, her family of siblings are left to face cultural pressure and hatred for their Capitalist status even though they were living on welfare for years.  Classes were suspended to make revolution.  Teachers and Principals are arrested by hateful students and denounced, locked in sheds and sent to prison.  The world as Ah Si knew it, is turned upside down and life no longer made any sense.

This is a memoir of Ah Si's experiences growing up during The Chinese Cultural Revolution.  The Cultural Revolution lasted 10 years.  Educated people were sent to the country to be "re-educated".  Many families were forcibly displaced and young adults were sent to rural regions to work.  This was a time of major social and political upheaval in China. 

Ting-Xing Ye includes many Maoism's from his "Little Red Book" in her memoir.  You will be amazed at the resilience of Ah Si and her siblings and how they are able to suffer and endure, but still remain hopeful. This is a powerful memoir that relates the period of the Cultural Revolution from a teenager's point of view.

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