Book Review: Red Azalea by Anchee Min

Book Review

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This is a book review on Red Azalea by Anchee Min. In Red Azalea, Anchee Min creates a vivid image of growing up in China at the height of Communist rule under Mao. She became leader of the little Red Guard as part of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eagerly demonstrated her devotion to the Party.

In Red Azalea, Anchee Min creates a vivid image of growing up in China at the height of Communist rule under Mao. She became leader of the little Red Guard as part of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eagerly demonstrated her devotion to the Party. The real story begins when she is separated from her family and sent to the Red Fire Farm, a dreadful work camp, during her teen years. Life under Mao was a struggle for survival where the individual’s needs were not considered. In her writing, Min does not show disrespect for those in powered, but rather describes the poverty and condition of the country. Mines fate took a remarkable turn one day when she was chosen from many girls to become and actress in training. This account is easy to read yet the concepts are deep and meaningful. Her life makes the reader think about their own fortunes or perhaps misfortunes. Red Azalea is a beautiful autobiography that creates a powerful sense of life in China during the country’s most heartbreaking time.

Red Azalea is not difficult to read – it is a book easily consumed in one or two sittings. However, when it comes to the digestion of whets been read, that’s a different story altogether. Red Azalea is the story of the author’s childhood under Chinas Cultural Revolution, but tackled with seemingly simple language that manages to impart complicated undercurrents of meaning to the reader. Min has stated in interviews that she admires the painting style of Henri Matisse, and that her writing style is a reflection of that simplicity and naiveté.

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