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CONTEST ENTRIES > Best Review Contest (Fall 2018)

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message 1: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 18269 comments Mod
This is the thread where you can submit reviews for the Best Review contest. The thread is open for submissions and will close at Midnight EST on November 17, 2018. Voting will start the next day and run until the end of the GR day on November 30. The person whose review gets the most votes will get to design a 20 point task for the Winter Challenge.

To be eligible for this task opportunity you must have achieved at least 100 points on the Readerboard by midnight Eastern Time on November 16, 2018.

Just a reminder that each person can only submit one review - but you can make edits to your review up until the end. The review does not have to be any particular length and doesn't have to be a positive one (i.e. you can choose to review a book you didn't like).
Please include your Readerboard Name.

PLEASE DO NOT comment on people's reviews in this thread - this is for submissions only - you will be able to comment when voting begins.

SPOILER ALERT!- These reviews may include spoilers.

message 2: by Trish (last edited Oct 10, 2018 05:29AM) (new)

Trish (trishhartuk) | 2702 comments Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
Reviewed by trishhartuk - five stars

Like The Garden of Evening Mists, this is another book I wouldn’t have read if it hadn’t been for my book club. Wild Swans is very well written, and stands on the bridge between history and (auto)biography. It covers the history of China in the first three-quarters of the twentieth century, but from the views and experiences of the author, her mother and her grandmother: each of them strong women, who garner the respect of the reader in different ways.

Fascinating throughout, it showed me just how little I know about this massive country. About my first real memory of news from China was Mao's death and the fall of the Gang of Four. Reading Wild Swans gave me more idea of why the latter happened and why Mao's wife was so hated, in contrast to how Mao himself, who was behind so much of the trauma the country suffered after 1949, managed to lay off the blame on others.

The odd dichotomy about the book, is that while it was fascinating, even gripping, and the writing drew me in and held me there (which I consider the mark of a five-star book), at the same time it was emotionally very hard to read. From the earliest pages, describing how the author’s grandmother’s feet were bound, I felt myself wincing at times, and in the case of the purges, the Cultural Revolution and its victims, and the discussions of just how cynically Mao controlled the narrative, it was deeply disturbing.

I did feel it was a bit rushed at the end, once Jung Chang had applied, and been accepted, to go to study in the UK, as this almost seemed like a footnote, but perhaps that was because I already knew that would happen, whereas with the rest of the book, given how little Chinese history I knew before I read it, I didn’t know what would happen next.

Not a book for the faint-hearted, but if you like a challenging non-fiction read, then this would qualify.

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