Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of age in China during the Cultural Revolution by Moying Li

I recommend this book for:  middle and high school

This memoir covers moments in the life of Moying Li, from the time that she was 4 years old until she left China as a university student.  The Cultural Revolution was a time of upheaval and uncertainty in China, and life was spent trying to conform to the standards demanded by the government so as not to be labeled an enemy of the people.  It didn't seem to take much to deserve that label - long hair or the wrong style of clothes could put you under suspicion, not to mention fondness for Western literature or joking about the wrong things.  Some of the details she shares are absolutely appalling - family members hauled off to labor camps, persecution of teachers by their own students, people driven to suicide, near starvation.  Among all these ugly events, Li was able to get a good education and commit small rebellions against the madness.  

This book would make a good introduction to this period of history for middle or high school students (or adults for that matter!), as it uses a young person's perspective.  Li shares essential historical  background for understanding this period, and the details really bring it to life.  A sad but fascinating story - and ultimately, a hopeful one.  

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