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What matters about this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age "novel," cobbled together from the journal entries of a teenage scribbler who grew up in Beijing in the 1990s, is that it was banned in mainland China, ostensibly for its too-frank portrayal of the sex-drenched, drug-addled and music-obsessed world of that country's materialistic middle-class youngsters. The ban places it alongside two other "cruel youth" Chinese novels, Mian Mian's Candy and Wei Hui's Shanghai Baby, both of which rode their notoriety (and little else) to decent sales in the West. Chun's tale begins near the end of her third year in middle school as she fails her high school entrance exams and promptly embarks on an aimless and relentlessly solipsistic odyssey of love, sex, rock shows and academic disappointments—all part of a fight for some hazily defined freedom—punctuated here and there with suicide fantasies. There is no sense of either growth or dissolution in any of this, despite the novel's constant claims to both. Chun shows some promise as a writer, as evidenced by bits of refreshing literary experimentation and a surprising command of irony; she has also wooed the respected Goldblatt as translator. Whether she realizes her potential, however, may depend largely on how well she shuts out the dubious praise she has won, in China and abroad, with this book.
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"Reveals the cruel youth of a new generation...reflects upon the fast changing society of Mainland China." Asian Weekly
"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." YMSee all Editorial Reviews
Given that this book was written 10 years ago, I have to say it was okay. I read it for a class, and it was interesting, but what is probably the most interesting is that it is a... Read morePublished on December 9, 2012 by Rini
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
"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