for Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine
Taking Chairman Mao’s aphorism as its title, Compestine’s novel springs from her childhood in Wuhan, China, from 1972 (when she is nine years old) to 1976, at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Ling, the privileged child of doctors, suffers escalating humiliation at the hands of her Red Guard classmates as well as privation brought on by political chaos. After her father is arrested, her rebellious spirit both endangers and sustains her. When Mao’s death brings an end to the turbulent years, Ling’s tormenters lose their power and her family is happily reunited. mac, mm
The summer of 1972, before I turned nine, danger began knocking on doors all over China.
Nine-year-old Ling has a very happy life. Her parents are both dedicated surgeons at the best hospital in Wuhan, and her father teaches her English as they listen to Voice of America every evening on the radio. But when one of Mao's political officers moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust and hatred, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors, and soon, for herself and her family. For the next four years, Ling will suffer more horrors than many people face in a lifetime. Will she be able to grow and blossom under the oppressive rule of Chairman Mao? Or will fighting to survive destroy her spirit-and end her life?
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.