Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > My Name Is Number 4: A True Story from the Cultural Revolution

My Name Is Number 4 by Ting-xing Ye
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's review
Apr 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: trt-posted-reviews

Reviewed by hoopsielv for

An old proverb says: When at home, depend on your parents; when away from home, rely on your friends.

Ah Si, which means number four, was told this by a beloved teacher when she was sixteen and about to leave for a prison farm.

The author was born into a capitalist family in China. Her father was a prosperous business owner who was forced into becoming a laborer. His sudden death caused the family to take drastic steps to survive. The older children needed to find jobs to support the others. Then their mother died of cancer and the children were totally on their own.

Number 4 found herself in the middle of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. She was treated poorly because of her upbringing as a capitalist and protested with other students in Beijing. She made a brave decision to work at the prison farm in exchange for her sisters to remain in Shanghai.

Life at the prison farm was grueling and Number 4's capitalist background causes the guards to bombard her with questions. Yet Number 4's spirit and drive remain strong and she knows she has the courage to succeed.

This was a very good novel full of history about a time period that Americans may not be familiar with. I found it to be educational as well as motivating.
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