Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine

In 1972 Ling is living a carefree life in Wuhan City in central China. Her parents are both doctors working at the local hospital. Ling's father is a famous surgeon, trained in Western medicine. Ling's mother practices the healing arts of ancient China, using many special herbs. Then, overnight, everything changes. Under Mao's leadership the Cultural Revolution sweeps across China. Comrade Li, one of Mao's officers, takes a section of Ling's parents' apartment for himself, and starts to spy on them. He demands that they share their food with him, claiming more and more for himself. In a short time, Comrade Li becomes so powerful that he has the people living in the hospital's apartment complex shaking with fear every time they see him. Then Ling's father disappears, along with other doctors from the hospital. Ling worries about whether she will ever see him again, and if her mother will disappear, too. How Ling and her mother survive and triumph over the hard times during the Cultural Revolution is beautifully described in Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine. Review by Trudy Walsh

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