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The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir Hardcover – April 26, 2012
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The tale unfolds at the level of "ordinary" people living in near poverty and obedience to authority. Yet, as the grandson grows into manhood and samples the best of Western education, his slavish devotion to Party rapidly fades. Hiding a coffin no longer seems a foolish violation of government rule but more a symbol of family ties that trump any doctrines dictators may try to impose.
The irony of life bleeds through the pages. In some ways, it is so painful, it can only make you laugh. Through obedience comes disobedience, especially with family - both the one who raises you with their sweat and tears, and the one that governs your country.
The permanent influences of political unrest is prominent in Wenguang Huang and his family's life, but "The Little Red Guard" only reminds you that "small" family matters can still counter massive political movements anywhere in the world, China or otherwise.
All in all, "The Little Red Guard" is a fluid read and an easy hook to catch on to - a story you only hope will resolve. You don't need to know much about China, communism, or feel politically/socially enraged to understand and to feel the workings of a family living beyond just living, no matter the limitations.
This book is a view into a culture and a family that, in final analysis, is not really that much different than my own. The book begins with a simple request by an aging grandmother that she be buried next to her husband and not be cremated, as was the requirement to conserve land in Communist China. We move through the years with Wenguang's family as his father struggles to honor his mother's request, even though that may jeopardize his career and status in the community and even though it may endanger him and his family. As time went on, Wenguang's father died, and the burden of honoring the last wishes of Wenguang's grandmother passed to him and the rest of his family.
This book was well-written, is interesting and was a joy to read. I am so glad Wenguang wrote this book to share some of his life and experiences with us. The language, culture and customs of China may be different from the U.S., but matters of the heart are universal, and this book was written from the heart. I definitely recommend this book and hope purchasers enjoy reading it as much as I have.
The book is witty, fluent, and hard to put down once you started - and like watching a good movie, it lingers in your mind for a long time even after you finish it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting blend of political history and personal experience, this book provides a unique picture into what life in China was like following the tumultuous Cultural... Read morePublished 1 month ago by George L. Dziuk III
I couldn't stop talking about this book as soon as I opened it. It gave me so much insight into life under the Communist regime in Modern day China. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Merayjayne
I borrowed the paper book from the library and read it a couple of years ago. I liked this book very much. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Helen Wang
Terrific, very human portrait of family life in China before, during and after the Mao years.Published 13 months ago by Laura Kait-Petersen
I really dislike stories about restrictions in living conditions. I am so glad that I live in a country with religious freedom. You can have religion or not to each his ownPublished on March 27, 2014 by Josephine Clifford
This is a really wonderful book. I love how the story revolves around a coffin stashed in the living room. Very funny and poignant. I highly recommend it.Published on December 19, 2013 by Mark Brown
A very interesting true first-person account of growing up during changing times in China - in fact, times change often during this period. Read morePublished on December 2, 2013 by SelectiveReader
I had great anticipation before reading the book but was disappointed soon after. The writing was decent. Read morePublished on November 24, 2013 by Doc Lover