Corinne Edwards's Reviews > My Name is Number 4

My Name is Number 4 by Ting-xing Ye
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Ting-Xing grew up during a particularly bleak time of China's modern history: the Cultural Revolution. Despite her family's incredibly poor circumstances (with both of her parents dead and five children to feed), in middle school she is labeled "bourgeoisie" is tormented and ridiculed because her father had owned a factory before the communist take over. As the political climate gets more and more fevered, Ting-Xing is soon exiled to a prison camp as a laborer, to help "ease overpopulation in the city" and life in the camp is, if possible, even less pleasant than in the city.

One of Ting-Xing's strengths as a writer is her ability to really capture her teenage self. I think teenager readers will relate to her experiences because beyond the horrific and disturbing experiences, she includes details that still concern teens today (relationships with siblings, the horrors of menstruation, guilt and loss). Not only that, it also makes plain that often during the cultural revolution it was teens and very young adults who turned against their friends and classmates (this is consistent with other memoirs I have read of the time). And while she paints herself as a victim, I think again, she is describing her teenage feelings - so it never felt as though she is begging for our sympathy for her experience, more so she can show others that she was just a normal teenage girl going through a horrendous experience that could've happened to anybody.

As Ting-Xing survives ordeal after ordeal in the prison camp, she slowly comes into her own and finds, somehow, a seed of hope that her life won't have to end in the rice patties. Her perseverance and strength are evident and a great example for teens and adults alike.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 10, 2008 – Finished Reading
August 11, 2008 – Shelved
August 11, 2008 – Shelved as: advance-reader-s-copy
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: 2008
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: memoir
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: chinese-interest
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: china
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: communism
February 8, 2016 – Shelved as: cultural-revolution

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