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Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,259 ratings  ·  265 reviews
“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it i ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 31st 2012 by Portfolio (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  1,259 ratings  ·  265 reviews

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May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
As a law-abiding US citizen and a conscientious reader (just like other Chinese Americans on Amazon), I have the obligation to inform the general public of the falsehood in Ping Fu's memoir Bend, Not Break as well as her interviews with different media.

1. She had family ties to Sun Yat-sen, the “Father of China” although an expert on Sun's life had no knowledge of such a relationship.

2. She described that the Rape of Nanjing Memorial Day falls on May 30, "making my birthday both a cause of celeb
May 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
If I could give 0 star to this book, I would.

This memoir is full of contradictory fabrications mixed with high-minded talking. A lot of the stories in this book have been proven fake beyond doubt. Ms. Ping Fu herself had to retract quite a few major claims and correct quite a few "errors." Ping Fu has become so notorious in Chinese American communities that her name is synonymous with liar. Plug "Ping Fu" and "liar" into Google these days and the combo yields more than 6,300 hits.

​I have read Pi
Karolyn Sherwood
May 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
I don't read a lot of memoirs. So, BEND, NOT BREAK is either a perfect example of why I don't, or it's simply a terrible book.

Ping Fu must be a brilliant person. She apparently overcame great odds as a young girl in China, was then "quietly expelled" from China, and eventually succeeded in America as the head of Geomagic, a software company that works to create 3D products.

This memoir, however, is poorly written (style-wise), full of inaccuracies (many since recounted by the author), and begs
Camelia Rose
Jan 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
0 star.

Anyone who knows about modern Chinese history can easily spot numerous fabrications, inconsistencies and misleadings. Even the photo she provided does not match the description in her book. I must agree with this review on Amazon:

What a waste of time, at least I did not pay for this book!

On the other hand, why I am not surprised that such a book becomes a best seller? Sadly people will read it because it fits their "imagination" about China. Gang ra
Feb 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
From reviewer H. Zhang:

Nobody is jealous of Ping’s success. I am a Chinese American woman myself. I saw this book in Costco and immediately decided to buy it. While most western books about Asian women tend to focus on the exotic sex appealing or obedient wife stereotype. I thought FINALLY we had a book that do us justice and show us as what we really are, the intelligent, hardworking professionals. I want to read it. I want my kids to read it so they can understand me more.

However, I have a com
Jan 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
The story is a shocking misrepresentation of the recent Chinese history and a shameless fabrication of a heroic story that never happened and could never happen. I'd like to quote Fang Zhouzi, a freelance Chinese write who just recieved John Maddox Prize for been an ardent whistle blower for misdemeanors in scientific research, who recently provided a detailed rebuttal to some of the books claims.


I was a young child at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. My home and those of my close r
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
A terrible liar I have ever known. Unbelievable.

"How many dishes must Mama serve
Before she can call it a night?
The answer is twelve, followed by a soup
Cause there is nothing more she can do.

How many years must one stay married
Before her green card is safe?
The answer is three, exactly is three
That's when she sends him away.

How many horses must the Red Guards have
To murder a teacher at school?
The answer is four, emotionally four
That's what bad dreams tell Ms. Bamboo.

How many slaps must Rambo take
Truth Prevail
Feb 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Guardian just had a report (link:

It says: for Ping Fu's rags-to-riches memoir Bend Not Break, "Critics acknowledge the horrors of the cultural revolution, but question Fu's personal account. She has already conceded that a description of Red Guards killing a teacher by tying their victim to four horses was an "emotional memory" and probably wrong. Closer examination of her book and interviews reveal numerous conflicting claims and experts told the Guardi
Tibetan Monk
Feb 19, 2013 rated it did not like it

A review from Amazon questioning the truthfulness of Ms. Fu Ping's book "Bend not Break".

Fabricating suffering for personal gain is a true insult to those who did suffer.

[A promotion photo from the author that tells a different story from her book]

Search google image using the words "Ping, in the bottom row, second from the right along with the other children forced to live in government dormitories during China's Cultural Revolution. Image: Courtesy of Ping Fu.", you will get a black/white phot
Feb 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
I would have had no issue with this book if it is categorized as Fiction/Fantasy. But since Ping Fu has the audacity to categorize this as non-fiction/memoir/biography, then I have some issue with it.

Its target audience is definitely western readers who have no basic knowledge of China.

I was born and raised in China, i'm too young to experience Cultural revolution, but my dad and my grandpa were persecuted during those dark days, as well as both of my aunts. My parents went to college in NUAA,
May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
This Bamboo Lady is In-Credible.

"Unfortunately, I have, and frankly speaking as one who read quite a lot of books on that dark era of Chinese history (scar literature), I can tell this book feels like a combination of many other's stories, and greatly exaggerated. Forrest Gump, if you can recall that one, it is a great inspiring story. However, if you truly believe that's someone's memoir ... I can only feel truly sorry for that.

Indeed I cannot easily just telling others in their face that thei
Apr 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
It is a struggle to finish the book. I have to give it one star because the system does not allow any lower number.

I came to the book with knowledge and personal experience of Cultural Revolution (CR) in China and 3D printing. If you think that helped me, NO, it almost killed me.

This is a beautifully written book thanks to the ghost writer. I wanted to move on to finish the book.

The content is so out of this world, it is against so many things that I knew and experienced. I wanted to stop readi
C Bonston
Feb 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ping Fu may have done a good job to publish her inspiring personal memoir, which gained major media attention and reached the New York Times bestseller lists. Unfortunately, a liar is a liar. Perhaps there is no other thing in the world that is more difficult than covering a lie with another. Just a moment ago, the famous Chinese Scientific & Academic Integrity Watchdog, Dr. Fang Zhouzi found another "inspiring" personal memoir published by the same author in 1996 in China. Completely different ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, dnf
I have read a lot of memoirs...really did not like this one at all. The style of writing was sophomoric and something about this story didn't ring true. My feeling is that there was a basic truth there but it was highly embellished to make it more interesting.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shameless lies through out the book. Anyone with reasonable knowledge of modern China knows her stories are total fabrication. Please read some amazon reviews of the book. ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
I heard this book and thought it was a good one for life and career. To have a role model in life.

Then I learned the fierce controversy about the author. Indeed, many of the author's stories don't ring true. I can't image so many tragedies happened to one person. I have read lots of debunks about the author. I have to agree that I am on the critic’s side.

This book has a little truth but the author and ghostwriter have highly embellished to a ridicule degree. Now it is clear that the book is fabr
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Amy by: NPR
Shelves: memoir-types, 2013
I enjoyed this read, but found that it stretched my credulity more than once. Not that I don't believe that China's Cultural Revolution would leave an 8 year old living on her own, but that she single handed-ly opened the floodgates revealing China's infantacide, that she happily met with her tormentors as an adult....Some of it seemed just a mite too fantastic for belief.

I of course liked to see that she rose from poverty and abuse to success, but Im seeing now several reviews questioning her h
Beth Withers
Jan 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
After reading some of the comments below and doing a bit of research of my own, I have to retract what I'd written initially. I leave the reader to do his or her own research before deciding the veracity of this book. A lesson learned for me.

Beilin Zhang
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is becoming the next A Little Million Pieces.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Since I wrote the`review in February, I discovered that there may be some mis-truths in this book, which I am sorry to say I did not know originally. I didn't question anything because I just assumed that if someone is writing a memoir, everything it is will be the truth as the person remembered it. I felt I should add this to thhe review.

This is a memoir about a woman who lived through the Cultural Revolution in China, was taken away from her parents at age eight where she lived with other chil
Jul 23, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish
This book has a unique status in my "did not finish shelf", for I never even started it!

I saw it on the shelf at the library, saw that it was a New York Times bestseller, and the blurb sounded fascinating. A book about life in China during the Cultural Revolution, followed by a rags to riches, happy-ever-after life in America. What was there not to like?

Then I got home and looked at the GR reviews.

I am not even opening the book. Tomorrow it goes back to the library. It sounds like lies and cods
Reem Ghabbany
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was incredibly inspiring and beautifully written.
This is a memoir of a Chinese Amercian who had to leave her home country after being kicked out.
at 25 she had to leave all her family members and leave. upon arriving in America, she struggled a lot, she didn't know but 3 words in English, she worked really hard and now she's one of the best entrepreneurs.
her story is motivating although, she struggled a lot during her childhood as a black element during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and
Began the book without having read the storm of reviews this book has generated, so didn’t have any preconceived notions. I’ve read several books with the Cultural Revolution years as the backdrop, so was interested to see how this one compared. Overall, it wasn’t as rich and engaging as others; I found, what I thought, were a few inconsistencies, although Ping Fu might have had a slightly different experience, only she knows. I found I had more questions than answers to several parts in the boo ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
There's two sides to this book. On one hand this is story of a woman who spent part of her childhood in luxury, another part of childhood in prison, and eventually came to America where she found success.

On the other hand a lot of people believe that Ping Fu made this story up. I don't know enough about China's history to agree or disagree with any of these claims.

The accusations ruined the book for me. I couldn't get into the story without the thought that it was made up pulling at me.

Note: I
Mar 25, 2013 added it
Good story, but is it really true? There was a lot of controversy about this book that may have come from within China. It really damaged the book and it turns out some of Fu's claims needed to be revised.
Ting Lei
Feb 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
full of lies. A insult to those real victims. If labelled
as a fiction, I may give more stars
Feb 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-clubs
I'm in no position to evaluate the various claims that Fu has made about her experiences or the challenges that others have made about her recounting. Nonetheless, I found this book very disappointing.

The beginning of the book was impressive. Fu painted a really intimate portrait of her early childhood -- for me, she really captured a Chinese lyricism. Clearly for her, that period of her life was almost idyllic and that comes through very beautifully.

However, as the story proceeds, it becomes a
Peter Long
Jun 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's amazing such a big liar like Ping Fu could have a market in U.S. which supposes to value honesty! However, it's also understandable because China-bashing has become a polital correctness in U.S.. What Fu says is what many brain-washed people love to hear here. These brain-washed (by their biasede and anti-China media) don't care about seeking truth; some people with their own political agenda such Ping Fu know this. That's why these liars have been telling lies about China and insulting Ame ...more
I really want to like this book, and now I know why there's just something amiss I can't really place while reading this thanks to GR reviews. So this is another Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time moment, only that I think Greg Mortensen's had a better ghostwriter and he did visit the villages he mentioned about initially to help the community.

The story started with Ping Fu just landed in New Mexico from China, without knowing any bit of English spoken
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this memoir completely unaware of the controversy surrounding it. I found the author's account of her life moving and inspirational. I wasn't aware of the many falsehoods presented in her story until I googled her after reading her story. Now, I feel let down and bamboozled. So how do I properly rate this story? It was well-written, moving and kept me interested until the very end. I THOUGHT I was getting a glimpse into China during the Cultural Revolution. But now, it appears, key compon ...more
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True or False? The Tussle Over Ping Fu's Memoir 1 27 Apr 10, 2013 11:00PM  

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