Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lili” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Like so many of her young compatriots, Lili Lin lives on the margins of society–she has been jailed for “having a corrupt lifestyle and hooliganism,” and at 24 she is unemployable because she doesn’t have connections and unmarriageable because she isn’t a virgin. Estranged from her parents, restless and cynical, she drifts from day to day. Then she meets an American journa ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 11th 2002 by Anchor (first published May 29th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lili, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lili

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 05, 2015 Monica rated it it was ok
Can't say I hated it but it also isn't a favorite. Parts of this book were fascinating but then some parts were slow. I just think it took the character to long to change and she never really opened up. Got invested in the character without her really going anywhere
Nov 05, 2008 Anomy rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the milestones of my life. It is beautiful. It is like a ripple in the water, every time I read it, the more of an impact it makes on me.
Mar 01, 2016 Rachel rated it it was ok
I've read several historical novels set in China that were wonderfully written and that had brilliantly portrayed characters, but, unfortunately, this was not one of them. The main character has very low self-esteem due to having been traumatized as a young teen, and, believing that she has been ruined and is unworthy of experiencing true love, she throws herself into a lifestyle that her country calls "hooliganism," i.e., being a part of gang culture, consuming alcohol and partying, and being e ...more
Fay Hensley
This was an unexpected very good read. I started this without knowing what to expect and what I found was an emotional story of self struggle in an undemocratic society that really didn't have a lot of respect for woman at the time. What I loved the most, Lili was not afraid to be who she wanted to be and or really q...uestion who it was that she wanted to become. The price she paid during her lifes journey was not but painful to read. I'm not afraid to admit, but this one did make me cry. I hig ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Latrevia rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It made me understand China better and it's quest in what it's trying to achieve. Also, it made me realize how each government portrays how they want to be, but the reality is much more skewed. Therefore, it's imperative that we ensure that whomever we vote for, whether mayor or president, we should hold them accountable and ensure they set out to do what's best for us. This book reminded me that I have a voice, and in the end I was inspired and literally jumping up and down!
Apr 11, 2013 Laine rated it liked it
Don't know if i liked it. Reads quite poorly in places whereas in others the digging into cultural differences are amazingly insightful. The changes that occur to Lili are not quite believable but the descriptions of poverty at the margins of Chinese society are fascinating. In parts, its a great, eye-opener. In others its just soppy fluff. Fluff is acceptable because of the insights on Chinese life during the cultural revolution and up thru to the tieneman standoff. There was enough interesting ...more
Giulia Cavallari
This book felt like climbing a mountain. it started out boring as hell, and in the end I did not want it to finish. The climb was worth the view. on average a three stars, as I can't avoid wondering what it would have been if the beginning wasn't that difficult to pass through. The title is misleading. It isn't a novel of Tiananmen, but rather a novel that led to Tiananmen on the personal and sociopolitical level.
Sep 06, 2013 Shelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library, china
Wow--how life can change on a dime and be forever altered. One more sad story of how the cultural revolution with noble goals destroyed lives. Lili becomes a hooligan but then gets involved with an American journalist. She struggles to sort out her life, what to do with it, her conflicting feelings about China and just about everyone. Yes--read it.
Jan 01, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel
I enjoyed this book not because I felt that is was particularly well written, but because I really liked the juxtaposition between Lili, a Chinese "hoolagin", and Roy, an American journalist. Seeing the way they interacted opened eyes to how Chinese view their culture which is misunderstood by many Americans. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in learning about modern China.
Aug 30, 2016 Sheila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read. But expected a bit more of historical events. It took a while to get into the details of Tiananmen. This book was about a girl named Lili and what she went through in life living in China during this time period.
Jul 30, 2008 Marci rated it liked it
The author is a good story teller, but when the voice (whoever voice it may be) becomes politically charged or opinionated, it all sounded like the same voice. Enjoyed the story when the judgements werent being voiced.
Saya Hashimoto
May 31, 2009 Saya Hashimoto rated it liked it
Clearly a first book; the characterisation of the love interest was slightly nauseating but otherwise good for a no-brainer.
Kathy Chung
Apr 02, 2011 Kathy Chung rated it it was ok
Shelves: asian
Reviewed at : Small Kucing

Nice book. A lot of crying.
May 27, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: asian-women
A lot later than my usual Chinese books. This is in the late 80's and that revolution. It refers back to foot binding and dowager empress times, but no concubines.
Jan 30, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing
everyone should read books about what ordinary folks had to go through in the Cultural Revolution. educate yourself
Steve rated it liked it
Apr 04, 2015
Ceren Erdogan
Ceren Erdogan rated it liked it
May 06, 2013
Natasha rated it really liked it
Oct 10, 2010
Phil rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2013
Sarah rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2014
Louise rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2008
Nicholas rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2008
Jen Shearin
Jen Shearin rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2013
Lauren Cardon
Lauren Cardon rated it it was amazing
Jul 04, 2015
Becky rated it it was ok
Feb 16, 2015
Ang rated it it was amazing
May 17, 2015
Apple rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2011
jinsoo rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2016
B. Cheng
B. Cheng rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2015
'İrém rated it it was ok
Aug 29, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Green Mountain, White Cloud: A Novel of Love in the Ming Dynasty
  • Katherine
  • Cries in the Drizzle
  • Dream of the Walled City
  • The Bathing Women
  • Memories of a Pure Spring
  • The Moon Pearl
  • Nanjing Requiem
  • Please Don't Call Me Human
  • Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth
  • The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai
  • One Morning Like A Bird
  • The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai
  • Beijing Confidential: A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found in the New Forbidden City
  • Miss Chopsticks
  • Beijing Doll
  • Petals From The Sky
  • Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic
Annie Wang grew up in Beijing. A child prodigy in her native China, she was one of the most successful and influential young writers/journalists in the 1980s and had a strong following among Chinese youth before moving to America to study at UC Berkeley in the mid 90s. It was here where Annie honed her writing skills in English and won the Berkeley poetry contest in 1996. Since then, she has publi ...more
More about Annie Wang...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »