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Beijing Doll Paperback – August 3, 2004
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"This original...important book reveals with brutal frankness that the cruelties and frustrations of youth are not lost in translation. Teen Vogue
"Reading about her adventures is like living vicariously through the most uninhibited girl you know." YM
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Top Customer Reviews
She is a disaffected fifteen-year-old, from a middle-class family in Beijing. Loves punk-rock bands, writes poetry, longs to drop out of school, and struggles with her own feelings of nihilistic despair and pessimism. Soon after the book opens, she loses her virginity to Li Qi, only to find that he has a girlfriend and doesn't love her.
She immerses herself in the rock scene again, and gets involved with a rising indie-rock god/poet, then a Finnish tourist, while going to a shrink, getting magazine jobs and dropping in and out of school -- a merry-go-round of sex, rock, love, and a neverending search for a vague freedom.
"Beijing Doll" was famously banned in China. And it's not surprising -- this isn't exactly a complimentary look at Chinese youth. Chun Sue's story isn't too different from that of many other disaffected teens, but she does bring a lot of unbridled dark energy to it. Her alter ego is a girl who has seen enough to be jaded, but is naive enough to still not know quite how it all works.
Her writing is spare and sharp, with the occasional lapses into poetry. At times the story can get a bit monotonous -- the parade of brief boyfriends tend to blur together, as do Sue's semi-suicidal fantasies. And many older readers will find her angst and complaints annoying. However, Chun Sue does do a good job of capturing the confusion, the contradictions, and the depression of being a teenager.Read more ›
What seems very blase and boring to Western readers is actually very different than a lot of books that came out of China. Of course, the writing style is very simple, and the angst of teenhood is palatable. For Americans, with our plethora of angsty young adult fiction, this is old hat. If it had been American fiction, I would have just chucked it. But it's a unique Chinese view and worth reading.
If you have any interest in books about women in China, try reading Factory Girls for another perspective of young girls in China. The girls in that book are seriously struggling and looking for the Bigger Better Deal. They are sent out to work as young as 14 in that book, and they responsibly send money home so their families to survive. I don't know if it's the right perspective, but it is a totally different one from this spoiled version. I mean, her mom took her to go party. What the hell is that? My AMERICAN mom wouldn't have done that, and if I had dropped out of school, I would've been punished severely.
What's done well is the discussion of the underground music scene in China. I didn't know much about it, so this was a refreshing glance. Otherwise, this book was okay. I've read worse.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I actually lent this to a 20-something year-old friend from Beijing who found this book not only to be true to her feelings growing up there, but emotionally satisfying as well. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by Dorothy Gale
I hated this book.I read it because the summary made the book sound amazing.The summary said that Bejing Doll was about sex,drugs and rock in underground china. Read morePublished on May 31, 2011 by Emily D.
Very different kind of biography than what I'm used to reading. I felt I had a good sense of what's going on in her head but its not as exciting as I thought it would be. Read morePublished on June 22, 2009 by Robert Gray
I had to force myself to finish this book. I picked it up hoping to read a good story about what it's like to be a teenage girl in modern day China and what it's like having to... Read morePublished on October 26, 2007 by Scarlett Hyde
I feel sorry for teenagers in this world of blogging, myspace and the kiss-and-tell memoir: at least my embarassing diary rants were not in the public domain. Read morePublished on November 19, 2006 by Elisabeth W. Movius
"Beijing Doll" is the diary of a confused, lost and clueless girl in 90's Beijing. Actually, the fact that the story takes place in Beijing is totally unimportant. Read morePublished on July 1, 2006 by ~Efrat~
I just finished reading this and I don't know whether to feel sorry for the author or disgusted. The word that comes up for me is "apathetic". Read morePublished on May 20, 2006 by Sarassheena
This book is "choppy" and that makes it difficult to read. It really doesn't hold the readers attention and takes a huge amount of discipline to actually get through it... Read morePublished on December 27, 2005 by Chanta Rose
Essentially, this is a book written from the perspective of someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder. At the beginning, it was an interesting read. Read morePublished on November 11, 2005 by Lemas Mitchell