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My Name Is Number 4: A True Story from the…

My Name Is Number 4: A True Story from the Cultural Revolution (2008)

by Ting-Xing Ye

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Honestly, I don't know much about Chinese history from this time period. I had only heard of the cultural revolution and I knew very little about details of people being shipped off to work camps.

This book was very eye-opening. I really connected with Ting-xing Ye, and reading this account of her life was heartbreaking. I can't imagine how it must have been for her to be ripped from the only family she had, so soon after the death of her mother, and plunged into a world she knew very little of; all the while being tormented and persecuted for a class title that was a stain on her life.

The book itself was written well. It was a fairly quick read and I enjoyed it very much. The only thing I felt was missing was more information at the end about what happened to her family, and where they all ended up after everything. ( )
  yilli | Jan 5, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This firsthand account of one young girl's experience of the Cultural Revolution is engrossing and simply but beautifully written. An excellent introduction to understanding an individual's experience of this time period. ( )
  milkyfangs | Aug 9, 2014 |
Most disasters bring people and communities together; the Cultural Revolution tore them apart. But this book shows that the struggle to survive and to keep relationships alive is always worth making. ( )
  zeborah | Jun 5, 2013 |
Another account of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, from the perspective of a student whose family was labeled bourgeois despite their poverty. Well written.
  LibraryGirl11 | May 21, 2013 |
Ye Ting-xing's memoir provides a window into the life of a young girl growing up during China's Cultural Revolution. Ting-xing is the fourth of five siblings, with two older brothers, an older sister and a younger sister, whom she nicknames Number 1 to 5. Ting-xing and her siblings lived off of welfare with an old aunt (not blood related) after the deaths of both their parents. Because their father had at one time owned a factory and their grandfather had at one time owned land (though both had lost everything to the Revolution with no compensation) the children were all labeled part of the "black" (capitalist) social class and seen as evil enemies of the true "red" (farmers and working class) people.

The hypocrisy of Mao's Communists is displayed again and again, as the Red Guards ransack Ting-xing's home searching for gold or bourgeois luxuries and, upon finding nothing, make fun of the children for being so poor they have mended socks! The Cultural Revolution - which demanded the destruction of anything pertaining to the "Four Olds" basically all art, antiques, cultural heirlooms, etc. - is brought home when we see the Red Guard tormenting a poor old woman who had dared to prepare a funeral garment for herself (a traditional Chinese custom) and Ting-xing and her siblings forced to destroy a set of beautiful paintings that had belonged to their parents. The relentless brainwashing and bullying and forcing the children to admit their "thought crimes" against their leaders makes for very powerful reading.

We also see the stupidity of the leaders in inciting the farmers and peasants to revolt and giving them free access to trips to the cities, because this leads to failed crops and the decimation of the countryside. It becomes so bad that when Ting-xing is sixteen the government institutes a policy that one child of every family must give up their city citizenship and be banished to a farm to endure the harsh life of the peasant farmer for the rest of their lives. At the labour farm these teenagers, who had committed no crime other than being born of the wrong social class, were treated like prisoners and criminals. In fact, the farm where Ting-xing was sent was originally a prison camp and still contained criminals in a separate area.

This is a powerful and enlightening memoir, I only wish that Ye had gone into more detail. As it is, the book is so short that I read it in one sitting. Well worth the read, though. I would especially recommend it for teenage and juvenile readers as Ye's writing is simple and straightforward enough to provide an excellent introduction to the topic. ( )
  catfantastic | Feb 25, 2012 |
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for my brothers
Ye Zheng- xing
,Ye Zhong and my sisters, Ye Shen- xing Ye Feng-xing

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The morning of my exile to the prison farm arrived, a characteristic November day in Shanghai, damp and chilly with an overcast sky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is an abridged version of A Leaf in the Bitter Wind for young adults.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312379870, Paperback)

Number Four will have a difficult life. These are the words that were uttered upon Ting-xing Ye’s birth. Soon this prophecy would prove only too true. . . .       

Here is the real-life story about the fourth child in a family torn apart by China’s Cultural Revolution. After the death of both of her parents, Ting-xing and her siblings endured brutal Red Guard attacks on their schools and even in their home. At the age of sixteen, Ting-xing is exiled to a prison farm far from the world she knows.

How she struggled through years of constant terror while keeping her spirit intact is at the heart of My Name Is Number 4. Haunting and inspiring, Ting-xing Ye’s personal account of this horri?c period in history is one that no reader will soon forget.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:03 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The story of a woman's survival while growing up during China's cultural revolution.

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